Traditionally, Colombians do not have a great feeling with Northern Europe cobbles, but Colombia-Coldeportes’ Miguel Angel Rubiano was not afraid to tackle the challenge in 4 Days of Dunkerque’s stage 1 (Dunkerque-Orchies, 178 km).
After a controlled first part, characterized by strong wind (also blowing Rodolfo Torres to the ground along with several other riders), the race lit up inside the final 50 km, featuring six demanding collbes section that broke the peloton into a number of groups. Among the Colombians, Miguel Angel Rubiano had looked particularly strong, entering the last 15 km inside the 20-man group chasing an escape of seven riders, including Bryan Coquard (Europcar).
It was the Frenchman who got clear into the last kilometres along with Belgian Edward Theuns (Topsport-Vlaanderen), beating him easily in the two-man sprint and wearing the first leader’s jersey. Unfortunately, the last cobbles section proved too much for Miguel Angel Rubiano, who reached the finishing line 2.20 adrift. After the stage, Sports DirectorValerio Tebaldi explained: “He simply ran out of energy. He was feeling great, and made a very good race in spite of lacking experience on cobbles. In these races, energies can vanish suddenly, and in the final kilometres he needed to contain damage.
“We knew this would have been the toughest stage for us. We had hoped to keep Rubiano in contention for the GC, but now we will try to make the best of the new situation, racing on the attack until Sunday.”
Tomorrow, Thursday, the second stage will take the riders from Fontaine au Pire to Maubege (178 km).
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