The 2nd stage of the Tour of Denmark would see MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung put in an incredible team performance, resulting in a 1st and 2nd finish on the stage! Edvald Boasson Hagen was our victorious rider while Kristian Sbaragli finished in 2nd place.
It would be a long stage at 235km in length but in the end it all came down to the final 30km’s. The early breakaway riders had just been caught after our African team, particularly Nic Dougall and Theo Bos, and Astana had done the majority of the early chasing. Countless attacks then went off the front in the closing kilometers but each time the aggressors were pegged back, most often by our riders as we looked to set up the bunch sprint.
Even when we hit the final 3 laps of the local 4.5km circuit, riders kept flying off the front. Jaco Venter and Andy Stauff followed just about everything in order to keep the race together and then Jacques Janse van Rensburg also put in a massive turn on the circuits climb to bring back a dangerous move on the final lap. With just 2.5km to go, the umpteenth attack came from Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark), and he quickly built up a sizable gap. It was only thanks to Gerald Ciolek burying himself on the front that the Nielsen was eventually caught inside of 1km to go.
Ciolek kept going up until the final corner at 400 to go and then it was down to Edvald and Kristian for the sprint. Edvald went pretty long, starting his sprint at around 300m to go with Kristian on his wheel. Our Norwegian champion had such an intense turn of speed though that nobody was going to be able to come around him. There was no reason for Kris to try and come around either as he comfortably crossed the line in 2nd to give our team our first ever 1, 2 finish in Europe. It is also our 15th victory of the season.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
It was a pretty long stage but I felt really good. The final was hard enough to suit our team and the guys were excellent in chasing down all the small attacks. Gerald was fantastic to lead us out into the final kilometer and to make sure Cort Nielsen was brought back. I had a good position in the final corner and just took it from there. I am really happy to take this win and it’s also extra nice to have Kris finish 2nd.
Michel Cornelisse – Sport Director
It is always great when a plan comes together and works perfectly. Many times the plan doesn’t always work out but today it did and we can only be very happy with our victory. Yesterday we were a bit disappointed with the results but today made up for it. We also pulled back 10 seconds on the GC so now a top 5 overall is still possible. The team were really excellent.