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Turgis confims potential with queen stage win in Luxembourg

Having made it into a 4-rider group on the Col de l’Europe, Turgis beat Juul Jensen, Frank and his teammate Mate in the sprint to win stage 3 of the Tour de Luxembourg; Lammertink retained the lead with a 7-second advantage over Turgis

ANTHONY TURGIS

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CHRISTOPHER JUUL-JENSEN

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MATHIAS FRANK

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ROOMPOT - NEDERLANDSE LOTERIJ

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TOUR DE LUXEMBOURG

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04.06.2016 @ 17:59 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) again confirmed that he is one of the most exciting French talents when he rode to victory in the Tour de Luxembourg queen stage. Together with Mathias Frank (IAM), he bridged across to Christopher Juul Jensen (Orica-GreenEDGE) and his teammate Luis Angel Mate on the Col de l’Europe and he beat his rivals in the four-rider sprint. Race leader Maurits Lammertink (Roompot) arrived 13 seconds later and retained the lead with a 7-second advantage over Turgis.

 

As a former runner-up at the junior Paris-Roubaix and a winner of the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Anthony Turgis was an obvious new signing for the Cofidis team for the 2015 season. The talented Frenchman immediately proved his potential as he won the queen stage and the overall at the Boucles de la Mayenne and took the bronze medal in the dominant French performance at the U23 World Championships.

 

This year he has continued to prove his class as he won the Classic Loire Atalantique and finished third at the Tour de Yorkshire. With his punchy climbing skills and fast sprint, he was an obvious candidate for the overall win at this week’s Tour de Luxembourg but things didn’t start too well. Turgis could only manage 19th in the prologue and he struggled in yesterday’s uphill sprint whre he had to settle for 10th.

 

However, Turgis was unfazed by his time loss and today he rode himself back into winning contention by claiming victory in the queen stage. Powering away on the final climb of Col de l’Europe, he made it into a four-rider group that also contained his teammate Luis Angel Mate. The Spaniard dug deep to help his faster teammate and the effort paid off as Turgis beat Christopher Juul-Jensen, Mathias Frank and Mate in the four-rider sprint to win the stage and move into second overall.

 

After yesterday’s tough summit finish, it was time for the queen stage which brought the riders over 177.4km from Eschweiler to Differdange. The first part was mainly flat as there was just a single category 1 (3.5km, 7.24%) climb at the 74.3km mark during the opening run from the start to the finishing city. That’s where it was all set to explode as the riders ended the race by doing two laps of a 9.5km finishing circuit that included the category 1 climb of the Col de l’Europe (1.52km, 7.5%) which they tackled a total of three times. The top was located with 6.1km to go and the descent was followed by slightly downhill roads that led to the finish.

 

Due to a landslide, the course had to be changed and the riders were informed about the small modification when they arrived for the start in rainy conditions. Marcus Burghardt (BMC) was absent as he is scheduled to do the Criterium du Dauphiné.

 

Right from the beginning, there were lots of attacks and no one had managed to get clear after 10km of racing. At the 13km mark, Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Jan Brockhoff (Leopard) had built an advantage of 14 seconds and as the peloton continued to lose ground, Florian Vachon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) gave chase. He stayed 15 seconds behind the front duo for a while but as the peloton got up to speed and started to reduce the gap of 20 seconds, he was brought back. At the 18km mark, it all came back together.

 

Strong wind split the field in the rainy conditions and as the attacking continued, the race became a tough affair. However, race leader Maurits Lammertink was unfazed as he beat Marco Marcato (Wanty) and Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport) in the first intermediate sprint at the 28km mark.

 

The riders covered 41km during the first hour but no one had managed to escape at that point. Moments later, a 10-rider group briefly seemed to have made the difference but they were brought back too.

 

Finally, five riders managed to get clear when Loic Vliegen (BMC), Matthias Brändle (IAM), Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Brice Feillu (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) took off and as the peloton slowed down, they had a 1-minute advantage after 54km of racing. When Feillu beat Brändle in the first KOM sprint after 74km of racing, the peloton had been distanced by 2.55 and the gap reached 3.20 at the 80km mark.

 

The sun was again shining when the riders reached the feed zone at the 96km mark where the gap was 3.50 but now Roompot started to chase. With 60km to go, they had reduced the gap to 3.20 and when they entered the final 40km, it was down to 2.15.

 

Jempy Drucker (BMC) who crashed yesterday was riding at the back of the field and in the end, his injuries became too much. Having consulted his team car, he stepped off the bike while Roompot slowly continued to bring the break back.

 

With 30km to go, the gap was down to 1.30 and this was the signal for van der Sande and Feillu to attack. As they hit the Col de l’Europe for the first time, they took off under torrential rain and it was the Frenchman who won the KOM sprint. The peloton crested the summit 1.05 later.

 

Brändle and Durbridge rejoined the leaders who were now just 55 seconds ahead of the peloton. Feillu and van der Sande again pushed clear on the climb but at the start of the final lap, things had been reshuffled. Van der Sande, Durbridge, Christopher Juul Jensen (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) had gone clear and enjoyed a 15-second advantage. Juul won the final intermediate sprint.

 

Durbridge and van der Sande were left behind and instead Mathias Frank (IAM) and Turgis bridged across. Further back, the peloton splintered to pieces and it was a small group that formed behind the four leaders.

 

Turgis, Juul, Mate and Frank dug deep to maintain their advantage and they managed to keep the peloton at bay. In the sprint, Turgis managed to hold off Juul and Frank while Mate rolled across the line in fourth.

 

Dion Smith (ONE) led the small peloton to the finish 13 seconds later and as race leader Lammertink was there, he retained the lead. He now has a 7-second advantage over Turgis while Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Alex Kirsch (Stölting) are five seconds further adrift.

 

However, nothing is decided yet as the final stage is equally brutal. After s tough start with three climbs, the stage ends with four laps of a difficult 5.5km finishing circuit in Luxembourg. It includes the short Pabeierbierg (825m, 9.05%) whose top comes at the flamme rouge and then the road levels out for the final kilometre, meaning that the puncheurs have a big chance to change things right until the end.

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