Team NetApp-Endura fell out of GC contention in today's second stage of the 4 Days of Dunkirk when cobbles, wind and rain split the peloton to pieces. Pre-race captain Sam Bennett felt a bit under the weather and lost more than 10 minutes as his teammate Ralf Matzka was the only one to keep up with the best under the difficult circumstances.
First-stage winner Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr) has also won the second stage of the four days of Dunkirk. The Frenchman was able to assert himself against Jonas Ahlstrand (Team Giant-Shimano) and Tom Van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise) in the sprint made up of a group of about 30 riders despite the difficult external conditions.
After 166,9 kilometers and three cobblestone sections Ralf Matzka came in 16th as the best rider of the NetApp – Endura team.
“The adverse weather conditions really made our riders work hard today. In addition we had several malfunctions in the most unfavorable moments not allowing us the chance to come back again. Sam has been under the weather since yesterday and certainly lost strength and energy as a result. And with such a hard race in these conditions of course you need all your energy. In the final stretch we only had Ralf Matzka who had to rely on himself. Today was simply not our day,” André Schulze summed up the stage.
The riders may well be spared rain on the third stage tomorrow, from all accounts. However, a strong wind of late will play a role on the almost 198 kilometers between Fruges and Calais. Gusts of wind with top speeds of up to 75 km/h are forecasted.
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