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Blanco duo benefits from the sudden occurrence of rain in opening prologue of the Ster ZLM Toer to make it a 1-2 for their team on home soil

ROBERT WAGNER

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STER ZLM TOUR

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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12.06.2013 @ 20:36 Posted by Simon Knudstrup

The Blanco duo Robert Wagner and Lars Boom had carefully studied the weather forecasts and made a wise decision by going off early in today's opening prologue of the Ster ZLM Toer. They were firmly positioned at the top of the leader board when rain set in and as no one could overcome the wet conditions to beat their times, they made it a 1-2 for their Dutch team on home soil.

 

For the second time in less than a week, changing weather conditions had a huge influence on the outcome of an opening time trial. After a sudden change in win direction had made it unable for even Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack) to beat the time of Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) on the opening day of the Tour de Suisse, rain started to fall midway through today's prologue in the Dutch stage race, Ster ZLM Toer.

 

The weather change was not completely unexpected and many teams had chosen to send their best riders off early in the evening. Andre Greipel - who will go head-to-head with Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish in the sprints later in the week - was the 12th rider down the ramp and he was the first rider to go under 10 minutes as his time of 9.53 put him firmly at the top of the leader board.

 

He did not enjoy that position for long though as Lars Boom crossed the finish line just two minutes later in a time that was 11 seconds faster than Greipel. No one was able to threaten the time of last year's runner-up until his teammate, sprinter Robert Wagner, was the second Blanco rider to go down the ramp.

 

The German lowered the mark by another 3 seconds to make it 2 Blanco riders in the first two positions. Moments later, Omega Pharma-Quick Step sprinter got close and moved himself into third before being eclipsed by sprinter Marcel Kittel - a decent time triallist - whose time was only 2 seconds slower than Boom's.

 

With 70 of the 139 riders all safely over the finish line, rain started to fall and from then on, only two riders managed to set a time below the 10-minute mark. A fantastic performance was delivered by young Swedish time triallist Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos-Shimano) whose time was just 1 second slower than Boom's and so he moved himself into third position.

 

The other good performance in the final half of the stage came from defending champion Mark Cavendish. The Manxman proved that he is ready for the Tour de France by setting a time of 9.58 and so setting himself well up for a repeat win in the Dutch event.

 

However, that will require him to take some bonus seconds in the sprints by beating the likes of Kittel and Greipel and he will get his first chance to do so in the first clash of the Titans this season as the three super sprinters are expected to go head-to-head in tomorrow's completely flat stage.

 

Result and general classification:

1. Robert Wagner 9.40

2. Lars Boom +0.02

3. Tobias Ludvigsson +0.03

4. Marcel Kittel +0.04

5. Andrew Fenn +0.06

6. Dries Devenyns +0.08

7. Alexander Serov +0.10

8. Michal Golas +0.11

9. Markus Eichler

10. Andre Greipel +0.13

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