Van Poppel beats Cavendish to Tour of Britain points jersey
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Van Poppel beats Cavendish to Tour of Britain points jersey

by Shane Stokes at 6:48 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Britain
 
House savours important King of the Mountains triumph

Boy Van PoppelBearing the pressure of a famous name, his father being former top pro Jean Paul van Poppel, Boy van Poppel showed he has plenty of speed in his own right with victory in the points classification at the Tour of Britain.

While Mark Cavendish won three stages, the 24 year old UnitedHealthcare rider had a remarkably consistent race. He was second and third on the first two days, holding the race leader’s gold jersey on day three as a result, then continued by placing seventh, fourth, third, fifteenth and second in the remaining stages. That regularity saw him beat his Team Sky rival by 76 points to 59 in the points classification and was, in the eyes of his team, ‘arguably the best week of his young career.’

“This was an amazing week for us,” said team director Hendrik Redant. “The boys worked so hard and we are all happy for the results they produced. Boy’s second place finish today is a great way to end this Tour and in the same way we started it – with a team member on the podium. What a great way to complete a fantastic week.”

The points classification award will be particularly appreciated by Van Poppel as he is yet to clock up a victory since turning pro last season. He’s gone close this year, finishing as runner up on stage two of the Volta a Portugal, third in both the Nokere Koerse and stage two of the Three Days of De Panne, fourth on stages of the Tours of Turkey and Poland and also taking those four podium places in Britain.

Given the momentum and confidence he generated in the latter race, it seems only a matter of time before he’ll cross the line with his arms in the air, racking up that crucial first win.

At 32 years of age, Kristian House is eight years older than Van Poppel, but he too has picked up one of his biggest successes thus far this week. The former British national champion won the King of the Mountains competition by virtue of his high scoring from breakaway groups; he ended that contest on 86 points, nineteen clear of runner-up Pablo Urtasun.

“For me this ranks up there with the best things I’ve done on a bike, apart from winning the Nationals,” he said. “Winning a jersey here, in this race, this year in particular with all the TV and the interest from the public was just pretty special.”

House admitted he was on edge before the stage due to the small gap between himself and Urtasun. “I was really nervous this morning, perhaps the most nervous I can remember being. Winning this title was something that I really wanted to do, for myself and for my team,” he said.

“I refused to let myself think about it early in the race and just took it day by day. After stage six though I started to believe, and this morning I knew I was so close, but I just really wanted to get it done.”

Fortunately a group got clear early on and soaked up many of the points on offer. That enabled him to relax and really savour the feeling.

“Once that break went I knew they would take all the points and I could finally relax a bit. It was a great day out there, and wearing the jersey on that stage was really special,” he said. “There were people out there shouting my name, and my name was painted on the road…that was really amazing.”

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