The 2nd stage of the Tour de Luxembourg would provide for a stern test as the peloton would encounter no less than 9 categorised climbs along the 186km route. In the end it would be Linus Gerdemann (Cult Energy Pro) that would take a hard fought win. He beat Marc de Maar (Roompot Oranje) to the line with Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen) in 3rd.
The early racing saw 4 riders jump clear and push out an advantage of just on 8 minutes. Lotto-Soudal and Wanty Groupe Gobert assumed control of the peloton early on in the stage and the chase would begin in earnest with around 70km to go as our boys came to the fore. As the pace from the peloton intensified, the break felt the heat and was broken down to just 2 riders, Fabio Duarte (Colombia) and Stijn Steels (Topsport Vlaanderen), with around 40km to go.
The peloton also began to fatigue as the undulations took its toll, with the main bunch splitting in two over the final hour of racing. A number of attacks were launched from the peloton with Gerdemann and de Maar going clear and bridging to the leaders with 20km to go. They would then leave the early escape in their wake and nobody would see them again.
While all the early escapees would be reeled in, the peloton would split even further in the final kilometers. Gerdemann and de Maar arrived at the line together followed by 3 chasers. The next group on the road was 9 riders strong and our Kristian Sbaragli found his way into this selection. Kris was good enough to win the sprint for 6th place on the stage. Kris now sits just outside of the top 10 on GC, in 11th place with 2 tough stages still to go.
Kristian Sbaragli – Rider
Today was a really hard stage with a lot of steep climbs, especially in the finally 40km when the racing was really tough. I was able to make it into the first group of 15 riders that formed behind the 2 new leaders. Unfortunately 3 guys got away before the sprint so I ended sprinting for 6th place. Anyway, my feeling on the climbs was very good so I can be happy with my condition.
Andy Stauff – Rider
Today was probably the hardest stage and the weather made it even harder. It was more that 30 degrees in the final of the stage. The break went early and Lotto wasn’t really interested in getting them back, so we started chasing with 80k to go with Adrien and Jay. With about 40k to go the action really started and Gerald and Kristian rode really strong in the finale. Sbara attacked before the last climb behind the leaders and finished with a very good 6th on a very tough day. Gerald didn’t help the chase behind and got home in the chasing group. Both are in a superb condition and we’re aiming for even better the results the next two days. I think a stage win tomorrow is not impossible, we know the final circuit and will support them the best we can.