Juul-Jensen the highest place finisher for ORICA-GreenEDGE on stage two of the Tour de Luxembourg

Fri 3 Jun 2016

ORICA-GreenEDGE finished with a top-20 result on the second stage of the Tour de Luxembourg with Danish rider Chris Juul-Jensen climbing to 17th place.

The 168kilometre rolling stage concluded with a gruelling steep climb up to the finish line in Schifflange where Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) proved to be the strongest in the final to claim the stage win.

"It was a really hard finishing climb today," explained sport director Matt Wilson. "Basically as steep as the Muur de Huy just not as long. It was a really nasty little climb, only a couple of hundred metres long but a perfect stage for Gilbert."

Having started the tour with a fast team line up, Wilson was satisfied with the performance on a day which wasn't necessarily suited to the fairly young squad.

"We didn't really have any real specialists for the stage," Wilson continued. "We tried to get Chris in good position to hopefully not lose any time and also Alex Edmondson went in to this stage in sixth place on the general classification just seven seconds down." 

"If he was able to get into the front group that would have been ideal, but both riders lost a few seconds to a small group that went away on the climb.

"It was just a really hard finish, so we are happy to have finished the stage safely and without losing too much time with two more big stages to come."

How it happened:

A warm, sunny day welcomed the peloton to stage two of the Tour de Luxembourg in Rosport. After just seven kilometres of racing a breakaway of seven riders established themselves and quickly rode out to a two minute advantage.

The stage featured continuous, undulating roads with three categories climbs to contend with making it a tough say and a likely stage to shake up the general classification. With the stage finishing at the top of a 12% average gradient climb it was certainly a day for the punchy climbers. 

As the breakaway covered kilometre after kilometre of the challenging, lumpy route the seven began to split up over the climbs leaving three riders out front.

Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo–Vital Concept), Martin Mortensen (ONE Pro Cycling) and Pontus Kastemyr (Differdange - Losch) led the race and rode out to a maximum advantage of four minutes 20seconds. 

Similar to yesterday's stage it came down to the closing kilometres of the race when the escapees were finally reeled in and at the 15kilometres to go mark the bunch was all back together.

Starting the race with goals for the sprint stages, ORICA-GreenEDGE worked hard to keep themselves in good position and as fresh as possible heading into the bottom of the final climb of the day in an attempt to keep out of trouble and minimise their loses. 

The large bunch began the steep climb and there was an crash involving the yellow jersey wearer of the race causing havoc with riders strung out all over the climb.

In the end it was Gilbert who proved to be the man with the best legs claiming the victory for stage two. ORICA-GreenEDGE's highest place rider on the stage was Juul-Jensen crossing the line in 17th place just six seconds down on the stage winner.

Still two stages remain at the Tour de Luxembourg, with tomorrow's stage covering 177kilometres with more hills for the peloton to tackle.

Tour de Luxembourg stage 2 results:

1. Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) 3:55:59
2. Maurits Lammertink (Roompot) ST
3. Alex Kirsch (Team Stoelting) ST
17. Chris Juul-Jensen (ORICA-GreenEDGE) +0:06

General Classification after stage 2:

1.  Maurits Lammertink (Roompot) 8:13:23
2. Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) +0:09
3. Alex Kirsch (Stolting Service Group) +0:09
15. Chris Juul-Jensen (ORICA-GreenEDGE) +0:31