The 2nd stage of the Ster ZLM Toer saw a select group arrive at the line to contest for the stage honours. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) would be the winner on the day as he out sprinted Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Danny van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing) for the stage victory.
It would not be the best of days for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung as none of our riders were able to make it into the 40 rider front group that formed with around 40km to go. This would be the defining move of the stage as these riders would drive the race to the line with the 2nd group on the road always playing catch up.
The split in the peloton came at a point while the peloton were chasing down a 5 rider early breakaway, some strong crosswinds and a few crashes in the gutter created the splits as those in front put down the hammer. The front 5 were soon caught as the first peloton tried to get away from the 2nd big group that had formed on the road. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung led the chase but it was in vain with little cooperation from the other teams.
With 10km to go the gap had ballooned to over 3 minutes and it would be the front group of 40 riders that would decide the stage. Lotto-Soudal again put their strong leadout on display to take an easy win. All the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders came home just over 7 minutes down as part of the main group on the road.
Andy Stauff – Rider
Today’s stage was pretty nervous due to windy conditions and just the fact that we are racing in the Netherlands. It was a tricky course today with a lot of small roads, corners and a course full of road furniture. There were a lot of accelerations made by different teams in the second half of the race and I was part of the action on each occasion. The only time I wasn’t present was the time the group got away. I expect myself to up there in a race like this so I am a fair bit disappointed and it shouldn’t happen. We had 4 guys left in the 2nd group and we tried to close the gap but there was no cooperation in the bunch, so it was done. We have a few options for tomorrow and possibly Sunday too so we are really focused on those two stages and we will try our best to make up for today.