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"I knew Brandle was the most dangerous guy. He is a strong guy and broke the hour record a few months ago. But there was nothing more I could have done on the climb to stay with him. I gave it all."

Photo: © Etixx - Quick-Step / Tim de Waele

ILJO KEISSE

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22.02.2015 @ 13:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Etixx - Quick-Step rider Iljo Keisse gave the team one last chance at a stage win on Sunday, entering into a four-rider breakaway less than 10km into 133.5km Tour of Oman Stage 6, and making it to the finish line with a minute and 16 second advantage over the peloton.

 

Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling) won by 4 seconds out of the breakaway. Jef Van Meirhaeghe (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) was 3rd.

After climbs of Al Hamriyah and Al Jissah, the four leaders maintained a 5'20" gap. At 20km remaining, the breakaway still preserved a 4'40 advantage. The riders then entered a mostly flat final circuit and managed to maintain enough of an advantage to decide the stage.

 

The group had about 10 minutes of a gap at one point.

 

Keisse's 2nd place was the highest finish in a Tour of Oman stage in 2015 for Etixx - Quick-Step, along with a 2nd place finish of Tom Boonen in the first stage.

 

Pieter Serry was the top overall finisher for the team, in 26th place.

 

"We started with the headwind and at the beginning I could count on the help of Stijn [Vandenberg] to take the breakaway," Keisse said. "Then we went in 4 and we took 10'. We had a good collaboration, then all day we had sidewind and tailwind, so we went pretty fast. In the final there were some climbs, but with the advantage we had, we knew that we would have gone for the victory.

 

"On the last small climb at more or less 3.5 kms to go Brandle went. I had a small mooment of difficulty and he took a good advantage. I tried to come back in the final, but I couldn't close the gap. I knew Brandle was the most dangerous guy. He is a strong guy and broke the hour record a few months ago. But there was nothing more I could have done on the climb to stay with him. I gave it all.

 

"It's a pity because these kind of situations don't happen a lot for me during a season, so when the occasion is there you have to take it. In any case I want to see the glass as half full. I go back home in good condition, ready and motivated for the next European races."

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