photo credit @ Twitter
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) commenced back-to-back wins today, after claiming stage 2 of this year’s Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde, after muscling his way clear out of a bunch sprint to seize the victory.
“It wasn’t an easy stage. It was long and we had to work because we had the race lead. We had to work at the start to keep the break under control and then at the end to get me in position for the sprint. I have to thank the team. I didn’t feel so strong but in the end they delivered me perfectly and I could take it home,” Kristoff said.
Today’s 217 kilometer stage from Zottegem to Koksijde, featured three 13 kilometer finishing circuits, with a final run to the finish.
A breakaway group of 12 riders containing Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar), Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar), Nick Dougall (MTN-Qhubeka), Martin Mortensen (Cult Energy), Amaury Capiot (Top Sport), Christoph Pfingsten (Bora-Argon 18), Tim De Troyer (Wanty Groupe Gobert), Mattia Pozzo (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Mirko Tedeschi (SouthEast), Gerry Druyts (Real Estate Services), Michael Vingerling (Team3M) and Jonathan Dufrasne (Wallonie), got underway early on in today’s stage.
From there, the group succeeded in opening up a substantial gap of more than seven minutes over the peloton – during the first half of the race.
However, after tackling the climbs of the Monteberg, Kemmelberg, the Rodeberg and the Vidaigneberg at mid-point in the race, the breakaway group began to tire.
As a result, a determined peloton managed to reel in the breakaway group, just as the race entered into the final 20 kilometers.
Undeterred however, Mortensen tried to ride clear again, taking Dennis Coenen (Vastgoedservice – Golden Palace) and Alessandro Malaguti (Nippo-Vini Fantini), along with him.
Despite the trio remaining out front for most of the final laps, the peloton never lost sight of them.
Indeed, with 6 kilometers remaining, Team Sky hit the front, subsequently chipping away at what little advantage the escapees were still holding onto.
As the race heading into the final corners, the peloton had captured the lingering trio and began to line up on the final run in.
Once again, Luca Paolini did a remarkable work of ushering Kristoff through the thick of things – to seize the finale.
Stage 2 Results
NOR 1 KRISTOFF, Alexander (KATUSHA) 5:33:32
ITA 2 VIVIANI, Elia (SKY)
NZL 3 ARCHBOLD, Shane (BORA-ARGON 18)
BEL 4 DEMOITIE, Antoine (WALLONIE – BRUXELLES)
ITA 5 MODOLO, Sacha (LAMPRE – MERIDA)
ITA 6 SBARAGLI, Kristian (MTN – QHUBEKA)
NED 7 KREDER, Raymond (TEAM ROOMPOT)
AUS 8 RENSHAW, Mark (ETIXX – QUICK STEP)
DEN 9 NIELSEN, Magnus Cort (ORICA GreenEDGE)
BRA 10 ANDRIATO, Rafael (SOUTHEAST)
General Classification after Stage 2
NOR 1 KRISTOFF, Alexander (KATUSHA) 9:32:43
BEL 2 DEVOLDER, Stijn (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 16
DEN 3 BAK, Lars Ytting (LOTTO SOUDAL) + 17
NOR 4 BYSTRØM, Sven Erik (KATUSHA) + 26
ITA 5 VIVIANI, Elia (SKY) + 48
BEL 6 DRUYTS, Gerry (VASTGOEDSERVICE – GOLDEN PALACE) + 50
SUI 7 KUENG, Stefan (BMC RACING) + 52
ITA 8 MODOLO, Sacha (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 54
ITA 9 SBARAGLI, Kristian (MTN – QHUBEKA)
NED 10 KREDER, Raymond (TEAM ROOMPOT)
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