After a chaotic final of the second stage of the Tour of Belgium, Tom Van Asbroeck placed fourth. Team LottoNL-Jumbo lost Timo Roosen and Maarten Wynants because of punctures, but got Van Asbroeck in the right position just in time. Arnaud Démare (FDJ) won the stage.
"Maarten and Timo both got a puncture on the cobblestone sections at the end of the stage,” sports director, Nico Verhoeven said after the race.
"It was impossible for them to return in the front. Their loss didn’t help the preparation of the final sprint. And they seemed to be ready for a good general classification. This is annoying. The good news is that Tom is sprinting on his old level again after some crashes this season. It's a shame that he wasn't able to sprint the way we wanted. He didn't start the final kick with full energy."
Van Asbroeck wasn't satisfied with his result himself.
"I wasn't well-placed,” he added. "The peloton was breaking and I was in the second group. Fortunately, my team-mates were able to bring me back in the front. It was a pity that Timo and Maarten were not in a position to help me in the bunch sprint. I wasn't in the best spot and was closed in by two other riders. I had to come from for behind, unfortunately. It could have been better."
The experiment with the Golden Sprint seems to have failed so far.
"The peloton isn't interested in those sprints,” Verhoeven said. "They're looking at stage wins first and at their chances in the general classification afterwards. Maybe it'll be different in the last stage of the race, when the gaps in the general classification are small."
Verhoeven doesn't expect much to happen in the Golden Sprint on Saturday.
"I think that it will be a bunch sprint with a big group of riders. The hills aren't that hard. Last year, it was a bunch kick too. I expect Tom to be there. He can have another chance."
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