The rain soaked opening stage of the Tour of Denmark saw a late escape take the spoils with Lars Boom (Astana) being the first rider across the line. Lars Bak (Lotto-Soudal) was 2nd and Asbjorn Kragh Andersen (Trefor-Blue Water) finished in 3rd.
There would be a frantic start the stage which saw the riders complete 50km in the first hour of racing. A large group of 44 riders eventually separated itself from the rest of the peloton and opened up a 30″ gap. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had good representation in the front and so we drove the pace with Tinkoff-Saxo.
Strangely a whole host of punctures plagued the peloton and Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Andy Stauff and Gerald Ciolek all flatted from the front group. Eventually though, after 80km of racing the two groups re-joined. A new break then formed of 6 riders and as quickly as there 3 minute lead went out, it also came down.
With 17km to go the defining move of the stage came when Chris Juul-Jensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) jumped clear from the peloton as the break were being caught. 5 other riders joined him and this would be the race winning break. The 6 combined well to open up the gap to 40″ and despite a chase by our African team, it was clear the stage would be decided by the opportunists. Lars Boom got the jump on his counterparts with 3km to go and soloed to the stage win and the race leader’s yellow jersey.
Andy Stauff – Rider
Today didn’t look too difficult on paper and we were expecting a bunch sprint. The weather was pretty bad though. Our DS, Michel, warned us of the narrow roads in the beginning so I tried to stay in front to keep it under control for us. The bunch split going through some village and Nic and I were in the front. Then Gerald, Edvald and Jacques put in a good effort to get across. We worked with Tinkoff and it was going well at first. Unfortunately Jacques, Gerald and I punctured. Without us in front, the peloton caught the front group. Theo and Nic continued working on the front to control the race. In the final circuits a small group rode away and Boom was just cornering faster than anybody else in the wet. We tried to keep the gap as small as possible with some perfect stages coming up for our team in the next few days.
Michel Cornelisse – Sport Director
Today was not our day. We rode well for 90% of the stage but we missed that final move. It was raining quite a bit on those final local laps and we tried to chase the 6 attackers but it was just not possible to bring them back under the circumstances.