photo credits @ Tour de Wallonie Facebook/Twiter
Danny van Poppel took advantage of some fantastic teamwork to win the second stage at the Tour de Wallonie today.
Trek Factory Racing, with only five men in the race, used its limited resources perfectly to lead van Poppel to the victory on his birthday, a wonderful present for the 22-year-old rider.
“It was special that I can win on my birthday,” said an elated van Poppel. “It was hard race with a lot of climbs – never flat. In the middle of the race a big group went away and [Etixx] Quick Step pulled full gas and that made it really hard.
“I felt good already in the training camp we made with the team, but it’s not always easy to win when you are feeling good, so to do it, and on my birthday is something. My mom and girlfriend were there today and they don’t often come to my races so that was really special, too.”
Breakaways animated the 171.4-kilometer stage two at the Tour de Wallonie, but Trek Factory Racing played possum, choosing to lay low and chance everything would come together at the end.
In the closing kilometers, the pinstripes kicked into action. Yaroslav Popovych and Hayden Roulston pulled hard at the front to help neutralize the last remnants of an escape group, and in the finale Boy van Poppel gave a flawless lead out for his brother and Danny sealed the deal with his second victory of the season.
Van Poppel: “Five kilometers before the finish there was an 800-meter climb and we knew that [Philippe] Gilbert would attack there so the team dropped me in good position there and I was really strong on the climb and I think we were gone with six riders, all the big names, we had a small gap, but no one wanted to work together and were caught back on the descent.
“In the sprint I was a little far back but Boy rode me to the front, we took a lot of risks but it was a perfect leadout to 200 meters to go and then I went full gas over him. It was an easy win for me after all the work of the team. I felt strong today.”
Director Dirk Demol was pleased the team turned around a less than stellar first stage Saturday and did so in the best way possible.
“Today was good – a couple breaks today, but we just stayed calm,” explained Demol by phone. “In the final Popo [Popovych] and Hayden pulled and in the end Boy did a perfect leadout for his brother so that brought us the win today.”
“I knew that we could win today with Danny. I saw him riding strong at the team training camp in the Alps that we organized for the riders during the Tour de France, and last week in GP Cerami with his second place he proved his condition is there. He also had the extra motivation today with his birthday. I told the boys for sure there would be cake tonight, but it’s up to you if it’s a plain cake or something else!”
Top 20 Finishers
1 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 4:17:57
2 Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
3 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
4 Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Wallonie – Bruxelles
5 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
6 Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha
7 Aleksei Tcatevich (Rus) Team Katusha
8 Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
9 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr
10 Boris Vallee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
11 Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Soudal
12 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
13 Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team
14 Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
15 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
16 Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
17 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
18 Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
19 Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
20 Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha
General classification after stage 2
1 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx – Quick-Step 9:07:21
2 Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise 0:00:10
3 Boris Vallee (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:33
4 Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Wallonie – Bruxelles 0:00:35
5 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:00:36
7 Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team
8 Antoine Warnier (Bel) Wallonie – Bruxelles 0:00:41
9 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Bretagne-Séché Environnement 0:00:59
10 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:10
11 Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:16
12 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:01:18
13 Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:19
14 Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:01:20
15 Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
16 Aleksei Tcatevich (Rus) Team Katusha
17 Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team
18 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
19 Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
20 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
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