Van den Berg stays third in GC after a dangerous and hectic day
Yesterday’s stage win brought Julius van den Berg really close to the GC win. With two days reaming and and a strong team ready to help, today’s stage was the first opportunity to try to jump into the race lead. The 158 km loop between Granville and La Haye featured a flat parcour, with a 20 km long final local circuit that the bunch had to tackle twice. 

The first part of the stage was a fast one, with a group of five riders forming the breakaway of the day before being later joined by three more components. The leading group was allowed close to three minutes, but the bunch picked up the pace as the race was getting closer the local circuit. With 23 km to go and about the finish the first of the two local laps a massive crash involving around 30 riders broke the bunch in two groups. Jan Maas, Stevie Williams and Jordi Meeus were affected by it, but Julius van den Berg and Cees Bol together with Peter Lenderink stayed in the front group. With only 15 km remaining Cees Bol joined the race lead together with two riders, but the bunch quickly brought them back as they set the pace for the final bunch sprint. 

Julius van den Berg, third in the overall classification and just three seconds away from the lead, attacked the bunch with less than two kilometers to go. The strong power of the young Dutchman together with the help of his teammates in the group behind kept a good gap, but unfortunately the peloton caught him with 300 m to go. Cees Bol put himself in the mix and sprinted to 11th in the day. With one stage to go, van den Berg sits third on the overall classification three seconds shy of the leader’s jersey, and will go into the last day as the white jersey wearer as the Best Young Rider. 

Michel Cornelisse, DS for the race, looks back to the stage and talks about the team plans coming into tomorrow’s last stage:
“The situation at the beginning was good for us so we could sit in the peloton and  save energy, but we had bad luck and we lost three riders in one crash. The roads on the final kilometers were really narrow so it was a good place to try to attack, but the stage was 300 m too long. The last stage will hugely depend on the wind. We are really strong and confident when we the weather conditions are tough, so if that finally happens I believe that we have a great opportunity to win. However, whatever the weather is like tomorrow morning we will go into the attack, we do not have anything to lose and I am very confident with all six riders”.