Race report

Team Sunweb animate stage finale before sprinters do battle

BinckBank Tour

Stage two at the BinckBank Tour saw the peloton take on 169 kilometres from Blankenberge to Ardooie, featuring the now traditional finish circuit. With the flat parcours, it would once again be the conditions and narrow, twisting roads that provided a stern test for the riders.

A break of six managed to establish itself early into the stage, quickly building up a lead of over three minutes. However, just like the opening day, the peloton didn’t allow the gap to grow out any further and kept the group within a manageable distance. With over 100 kilometres to go in the stage, the peloton split into two groups due to crosswinds but things soon calmed and the bunch were back together.

The race maintained a status quo for the next 75 kilometres, with the breakaway holding onto a gap of roughly one minute and 30 seconds before it started to fall as the stage approached its finale. On the narrow roads in the final lap, the team sensed an opportunity and came to the front and increased the pace, stretching out the peloton. A few small splits were made but the wind wasn’t strong enough to keep the pressure on and the bunch regrouped. Once the breakaway was caught with five kilometres to go there was nothing to stop the sprinters fighting out for the stage win. The team rolled home safely with the GC opportunities lying further in the week.

“It was a typical BinckBank Tour stage with some wind, rain, small roads and stress,” explained Søren Kragh Andersen at the finish. “I think we did a good race and we tried something in the last lap with the crosswind; trying to anticipate the race from the front. It’s a pity that it didn’t work out but that’s cycling. We’re happy with the teamwork and we’ll keep fighting; hopefully we’ll have some success in the coming days.”

Team Sunweb coach Michiel Elijzen added: “Again it was a nervous race today but there was not enough wind or long enough exposed sections to split the bunch. We tried it in the finale and the guys put in a big effort but unfortunately we weren’t successful. We’re in good spirits though and looking forward to the stages to come.”