Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr) continued with his winning ways from last week as he took out the 2nd stage win at the Tour de Picardie today. Ramon Sinkeldam (Giant-Shimano) was 2nd and Rudy Barbier (Rubaix Lille Metrople) rounded out the podium in 3rd place. In the tough finale that had a slight uphill gradient to the line, Kristian Sbaragli from Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung showed good strength to finish 5th in the sprint to the line.
The day didn’t start off too well for the African team though as Adrien Niyonshuti was unable to start, suffering from a knee injury he picked up after a big crash last week at Dunkerque. Tsgabu Grmay had to pull out at the feed zone too, the Ethiopian champ had fallen ill and could not continue.
Even with a depleted squad though, Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung made its presence felt on the stage as Sbaragli’s remaining 3 teammates worked tirelessly on the front with FDJ.fr as they tried to pull back a 15 man break. Their efforts were rewarded as the 2 minute advantage that the break had was squashed with 10km to go. Sbaragli then put in a big effort over the final few km’s to stay in a good position for the uphill sprint.
Rider – Kristian Sbaragli
I was feeling quite good again today so i asked our guys to assist with the chase so we could close the gap to the breakaway. Unluckily though i was then left alone in the final 5km’s and i had to spend a lot of energy before the final sprint. Tomorrow we have another chance for a result and i’ll go into the stage feeling very confident.
Directeur Sportif – Michel Cornelisse
Unfortunately we had Adrien and Tsgabu stop today with injury and illness. The other riders did a good job though particularly Jaco and Martin as they stayed with Kristian as long as possible. The finish was not easy on the uphill so today is not a bad result.
Remaining Profiles Overview
Tour de Picardie (France) – (16-18 May/UCI2.1) Team Lineup
Staff: Michel Cornelisse (Directeur Sportif), Bastian Buffel (Soigneur), Daniele Nieri (Mechanic), Andreas Beck-Watt (Mechanic)