Queen stage was all you could hope for, amazing race.
Houffalize, August 12th, 2017 – Today’s stage takes us from Tom Dumoulin’s hometown of Riemst all the way to Houffalize, over 200km of racing at the Queen stage of this year’s Binck Bank Tour. Again, rain is constant here, and this time we have to add some wind in the equation. When you add 14 classified climbs, we have a potential for a great race. And yes it was a great race. The breakaway of 6 held maximum gap for just over 5 minutes but got caught 30km to go. In the meantime there were many crashes and punctures, some riders abandoned the race including our Per and Agnoli. The climbs took the tool on many riders so there were many splits in peloton. Tom Dumoulin and Tim Wellens made 20 seconds advantage over six chasers only 10km to go. They managed to keep the distance and in the frantics sprint Tim Wellens edged Tom Dumoulin for the win, but with second position and 17 seconds between 3rd position, Dumoulin becomes new race leader. As for us, if it wasn’t for few punctures we would have 3 guys in a great position to fight for top 10, but luck wasn’t on our side today.
Enrico Gasparotto was always keeping with the group up front: “I managed to stay with the group of Gilbert until the steepest climbs. Then I said to myself that now I can breath a little bit, then Sagan had a puncture and that broke a little bit our group rhythm, then I did a mistake like a young guy, I let two meters of that group and then I missed opportunity. “
Our Sports Director Harald Morscher was pleased with team performance, although: “Today we had bad luck in the very bad moment, we had two punctures, one from Pibernik and one from Insausti, in almost the same time. Since we didn’t have a good car position in the convoy, it took us a lot of time to reach both of them navigating through narrow roads dodging all the other cars. So when we changed Luka’s flat we got a call from race radio about Ion Ander’s puncture so we couldn’t support Luka to come quicker to the peloton as we had to change another tire. So Gasparotto didn’t have maximum support today as without that puncture Luka could help him more, or two of them together could do better result. Anyway, I’m happy that every day we perform better, and I’m lucky also that Gasparotto showed up why he’s a captain of this team, and I hope that tomorrow we’ll perform even better, then we’ll be fine.” Asked how did he see the Gasparottos race and his near miss on being in the top 10: “It was hard luck, as Sagan was in first group, then he had puncture, and for sure, with his anger he would drive that group forward, so that could be a reason why Gasparotto was not concentrated for few seconds when others made a gap. The group was already set up, and it looked good. Unlucky…”