The 212.6 kilometer first stage of Tour of Luxembourg was dominated by six escapees who broke clear from the gun. However the rather flat course from Luxembourg to Küntzig made the chase easy for the sprintteams who joined forces and pulled back the escapees. In the furious bunch sprint, André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) proved to be superb while CULT Energy Pro Cycling's Alex Kirsch retained a solid position in the GC by finishing 14th.
Matt Brammeier (IRL/MTN-Qhubeka), Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Mike Terpstra (Roompot), Federico Zurlo (United Healthcare), Pit Schlechter (Leopard) and Rick Ampler (Differdingen-Losch) were the riders in the day-long breakaway. The pack was chasing too hard too soon and almost caught them with 50 kilometers from the finish line, which could have caused a series of counter-attacks. So the field decided to play a little game of cat and mouse and let the break have a little more time in the limelight. However, the fun was over with 5 kilometers to go and as expected the day was concluded with a stage win for Greipel who won by several bike lengths.
CULT Energy Pro Cycling's Alex Kirsch finished 14th, Fabian Wegmann 16th and Troels Vinther 20th. A part of the plan to stay out of freak accidents in the finale.
"The most important thing today was to stay out of trouble and we knew there was a small climb with two kilometers to go so we went to the front and I finished in the first part of the pack just according to plan. I was only happy to see the breakaway form from the start of the stage so the peloton would remain relatively calm and eventually start the chase. Tomorrow we face a more demanding course with numerous climbs and hopefully, we'll have a rider in the first group across the finish line," says CULT Energy Pro Cycling's Alex Kirsch after the stage.
Kirsch is now 9th overall - 8 seconds behind André Greipel.
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