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"Yesterday Guardini surprised me in the sprint. I had the feeling I could have won that stage as well. The whole team was strong this race, this is just wonderful."

Photo: Lotto Soudal






17.05.2015 @ 22:34 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Kris Boeckmans has won the last stage of the Tour de Picardie and is the overall winner. The 28-year-old rider already won the opening stage on Friday, when teammate Jasper De Buyst was second, and yesterday Boeckmans was second behind Andrea Guardini.


After seventy kilometres a front group of four was formed. The last of the escapees was caught at four kilometres from the finish line. Lotto Soudal had controlled the peloton all day. In the streets of Mers-Les-Bains the third bunch sprint in this race took place. Kris Boeckmans was the fastest. He beat Andrea Guardini and Bryan Coquard.  In the overall classification Boeckmans is ten seconds ahead of Guardini.


"The first hour and a half the pace was really high," he said. "When the front group of four was formed our team controlled the chase. In the local lap there was a short hill. Tiesj [Benoot] pulled there and eight riders got a gap, Jasper De Buyst and I were in that group. The peloton could return.


"The last three kilometres were flat. I positioned myself in the wheel of Andrea Guardini, the only one who could take the overall victory away from me. There was a headwind and he started the sprint with two hundred metres to go, one hundred metres further I got out of his wheel. I beat him with ten to fifteen centimetres.


"I was focused on Guardini all day. I was strong enough to catch him in the last meters. I liked the course which had a few climbs. 


"Yesterday Guardini surprised me in the sprint. I had the feeling I could have won that stage as well. The whole team was strong this race, this is just wonderful.


"In late April, I was not 100% of my ability in the Tour of Turkey because I was sick. With two stage wins and the overall victory in the Tour de Picardie, I have taken five wins this season. This is a very good track record. Now I will take a break for three days before the Tour of Belgium and the World Ports Classic."


“Our first goal was to win a stage," sports director Kurt van de Wouver said. "We did that already on the first day, with a nice second place of Jasper De Buyst. Kris Boeckmans was the leader after day one and of course we wanted to keep that jersey.


"Yesterday we didn’t have much support, we were the only team that chased. It was only at the end of the stage that Astana came to the front. Their rider Andrea Guardini won the stage and Kris was second.


"At the start of the last stage Guardini was six seconds behind Kris in GC, so we weren’t sure to win yet. A group took off before the first intermediate sprint, so the bonification seconds were gone. That group was reeled in and four new riders took off. They were caught in time. Magnificent that we won two stages and the overall classification. The whole team did a fantastic job.”



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