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"Tomorrow we still have a card to play with Heinrich Haussler in view of the fact that it will be something like a Tour of Flanders."

Photo: Sirotti








15.08.2015 @ 23:53 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Expected to be the stage that would establish the general classification at the Eneco Tour, the road leading from Heerlen to Houffalize, did indeed cause the great upheaval that had been anticipated. Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL Jumbo) was forced to bow to those stronger than him. Part of a break with 20 kilometers to the finish, Tim Wellens (Soudal Lotto) succeeded in having the perfect daily double.  Solo stage winner, the 24 year old Belgian also grabbed the overall leader’s jersey with an adequate collection of seconds in advance of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). 


For its part, the IAM Cycling jersey was well represented at the front thanks to Matthias Brändle’s presence in the day’s main breakaway.  But he was distanced once the favorites really started attacking each other.  Only Reto Hollenstein (25th) managed to maintain contact with the second chase group trailing behind the leaders. 


Talking about his day after he got into the team bus in anticipation of the two hour transfer in the direction of the Brussels suburbs, Hollenstein, who is 29 years old and from the Thurgau region of Switzerland, was divided in his feelings about the stage. 


“Today there was not one flat meter in the whole stage; at 210 kilometers, the course was more or less a shortened version of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège.  It just did not stop going up and down, and we finally finished with something like 2500 vertical meters climbed. 


"I felt comfortable on the different climbs.  In fact, I felt good until the rain started to fall in the final.  I suffered from the cold, and I just had too little strength to stay with the best.


"Tomorrow we still have a card to play with Heinrich Haussler in view of the fact that it will be something like a Tour of Flanders.  Now that we don’t have any more chances for the overall classification, we are motivated to get a stage win at the foot of the Mur de Grammont.”


Rik Verbrugghe, IAM Cycling directeur sportif along with Thierry Marichal, confirmed Hollenstein’s assessment and the limits of his team: 


"“We were present in the early hours of racing thanks to Matthias Brändle being in the break.  But there were no miracles for us when the favorites really started their attacks.  Even before the start of the Eneco Tour, we knew we did not have a team that would shine on such a difficult course. 


"We will have a better chance on Sunday for the last stage.  And we will make every effort to finish off this stage race strongly, especially since it is registered on the WorldTour calendar.”  



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