After yesterday’s opening prologue, in which Daan Hoole fell short by just one second to grab the win, it was the turn of the first road stage of the Tour of Rhodes. The profile marked a 139 km long ride along the coast, in which the peloton had to tackle a total of two categorized climbs through a broken parcour.
The race was off to a fast start and it took more than 50 km before that eventual breakaway took off. In the initial part, our Stan van Tricht was active in the intermediate sprints and bagged a 3″ bonification in the first one. After the climbing part of the stage, it was a group of around 20 riders, with five Academy jerseys, the one that went up the road, but the constant and strong headwind forced a lack of cooperation and soon another large group caught up.
The final part was devoted to preparing the bunch sprint, with van Tricht being our designated sprinted and the Belgian crossed the line in fifth place. Due to the time bonus, Daan Hoole drops down to fifth place in the overall standings but he stays just two seconds away from the top of the table.
Ioannis Tamouridis, Perfomance Manager and DS for the race:
“The stage did not fold as we expected, mainly because of the strong wind. Nobody was able to commit to break the group and keep up with the effort. After the two climbs, a group of around 20 went away, but because of the headwind there was no cooperation and another large group joined in. The first part of the stage was good for us and we could see some positive things from our riders, but everyone had an eye on tomorrow and saving the legs for the queen stage. In the final sprint, Stan (van Tricht) could take fifth, which was a good result together with the bonus seconds. We know that tomorrow we can have another good result, so we will go flat out”.