Meier spends day in the breakaway at Arnhem-Veenendaal as Docker sprints to fourth

Fri 19 Aug 2016

Canadian Christian Meier was one of the protagonists of the day’s breakaway at the Arnhem-Veenendaal Classic today winning the mountains classification for ORICA-BikeExchange with teammate Mitch Docker taking fourth place in the sprint.

Meier was part of a move that went away within the first hour of racing, gaining over four minutes on the peloton and staying clear for around 130kilometres.

The escape was caught with less than 20kilometres to go and the field duly sped towards the sprint. The race was won by Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) with Docker fighting hard for ORICA-BikeExchange and finishing in fourth place.

Sport director Dave McPartland was content with the team’s performance.

“It was a very fast start to the race,” said McPartland. “We were right at the front for much of the first hour with Amets Txurruka before Christian (Meier) got into the breakaway and things settled down.”

“Christian rode well and it's nice for him to have animated the race and take the KOM jersey to have something to show for his efforts.

“The whole team rode very well and it was very pleasing to see Mitch (Docker) have a good hit out for himself in the sprint and in the end he came very close to the podium against top quality sprinters.

“We can take lots of positives from today’s race and hopefully carry them into Cyclassics Hamburg on Sunday.”

How it happened:

A warm but cloudy afternoon welcomed the riders to the start of the 31st Arnhem-Veenendaal Classic. A four-man breakaway escaped within the first hour of racing and gained nearly three minutes on the peloton.

Meier was part of the move for ORICA-BikeExchange and 80kilometres into the race the leaders retained just over three minutes on the bunch and were working well together over the fast rolling terrain.

With 90kilometres to go the Meier quartet had stretched their lead to nearly five minutes with Meier taking all the available mountains points over the first 100kilometres.

Gradually the lead of the escapees began to diminish, falling back to the three minutes with 50kilometres remaining and now only Meier and two others out front.

Rain was falling steadily over the final 40kilometres as One Pro Cycling led the chase behind the Meier trio with less than two minutes separating the field.

Inside the last 20kilometres of the finishing circuit and the leaders were finally caught with a sprint finish now looking likely.

Positions were being fought for at the front of the bunch as the speed intensified approaching the finale with a couple of small crashes occurring on the wet roads.

Two riders went clear with ten kilometres to go and held ten seconds advantage for the next six kilometres before being caught by the motoring peloton with sprint now a certainty.

The race was won by Groenewegen with Docker the best placed ORICA-BikeExchange rider in fourth place.

ORICA-BikeExchange are next in action tomorrow at the 71st Vuelta a Espana.

Arnhem-Veenendaal classic results:

1. Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo)
2. Christopher Opie (OnePro-Cycling)
3. Kenny Dehaes (Wanty-Group-Gobert)
4. Mitch Docker (ORICA-BikeExchange)