INTERMARCHÉ
WANTY GOBERT

Benelux Tour

Danny Van Poppel (5th) relies on his experience in the crosswinds


As expected, the wind played a crucial role in the opening stage of the Benelux Tour (2.WT, 30/08-5/09) in the open fields in Friesland, in the north of the Netherlands. In the last race hour, echelons were formed in the peloton when several teams used the strong Northsea breeze to create a selection. Sprinter Danny Van Poppel, recently winner of the Egmont Cycling Race, was present in the first group. The thirty riders with Van Poppel caught the breakaway of seven men who escaped after the start in Surhuisterveen. The collaboration in the leading group continued on the two local laps in Dokkum. Tim Merlier was the fastest in the sprint, with Danny Van Poppel sprinting to 6th. An individual time trial of 11.1 kilometer in Lelystad is on the schedule this Tuesday.

The whole peloton was informed this morning, during the pre race meetings in the team buses, crosswinds would be a determining factor today. So it was necessary to stay focused and fight for positions from start to finish. Luckily I can rely on my experience in the crosswinds and we worked well together as a team. We were well represented at the front when there was a split for the first time, but all groups came together again. We stayed attentive but we were completely blocked when crossing the Lauwersmeer. At the following roundabout, I saw that we were only 30 riders left. Luckily I managed to follow them. I was in Merlier’s slipstream in the approach of the sprint, but I couldn’t find a gap and had to be satisfied with 6th. After the time trial, there are two more sprint stages. Also the race to Ardooie where I almost managed to win in 2016.

General Classification

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