Tjallingii nabs first win in eight years on day two of World Ports Classic
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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tjallingii nabs first win in eight years on day two of World Ports Classic

by Shane Stokes at 10:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Maes wins overall after stage one victor Wallays is distanced to breakaway group

World Ports ClassicMaarten Tjallingii (Belkin Pro Cycling) raced to a superb solo win on stage two of the World Ports Classic today, attacking a break on the final stage to Antwerp and holding off the hard chase behind.

Making his move with approximately twenty kilometres to go, he had twenty seconds lead twelve kilometres later and continued to blast away. Behind, the Saxo Tinkoff and Lotto Belisol teams were chasing hard but they were unable to peg him back before the line, where the former Tour of Belgium winner celebrated victory.

He finished three seconds ahead of Frederique Robert (Lotto Belisol) and Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), plus the rest of the chase group.

It was Tjallingii’s first win since the 2006 Tour de Qinghai Lake, where he took a stage plus the overall.

The 35 year old Dutchman’s campaign started very quietly. He was only 96th yesterday, one minute and nine seconds behind the solo victor Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise). The Dutchman was below par then; he rode above his usual level today.

Reacting to the success, Tjallingii said that he saw his chance when the Saxo Tinkoff team were squabbling with another team. “They were having a little fight with Lotto and I though I’d try something,” he said, describing his attack from a break which had succeeded in opening a substantial gap over Wallays.

“I got twenty seconds pretty quickly. If the wind was in my favour, I thought I could go pretty far. Then with two kilometres to go, I still had twelve seconds and I believed I had a chance.

“Going into the final kilometre I still had a gap so I kept going and I made it.”

He said that today’s success might never had happened as he considered ending his participation. “Yesterday I thought about quitting the race,” he said. “You can still hear it, my voice is pretty bad But today I decided to see how it would go and as you can see, I won the stage.”

With Wallays becoming isolated today and then losing time, the GC came down to those in the break. Tjallingii had lost too much on day one to nab the final overall victory, as had Robert. Maes was eighth yesterday, though, and prevailed by two seconds ahead of Jonathan Cantwell (Team Saxo-Tinkofd) and Reinier Honig (Crelan-Euphony).

Overnight leader Wallays finished in the peloton, eight minutes back. He rode well but after riders such as yesterday's runner-up Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) fired multiple attacks at him, he was unable to respond when the final break went clear.

That meant that his jersey passed onto the shoulders of Maes, who said that the result was due to two days of hard work with his Omega Pharma Quick Step team.

“Yesterday we tried with Alessandro Petacchi. We worked for him for the sprint, but there was another guy in the front, Jelle Wallays (Lotto-Belisol). So this morning we tried again to go for Peta. The team really was involved in every moment of the race. At thirty kilometers and ninety kilometers for example, we tried to split the group. But it was not the wind we were expecting. So it was really difficult to split the best in the GC,” he said.

“In the final there was Lars Bak (Lotto-Belisol) on the attack and we were behind with four riders. Wilfried Peeters from the car told me to attack and try to enter in an eventual breakaway. I went on the attack with fifteen guys but I was the only one from the team. He told me not to ride and wait for the sprint. I sat on wheels the rest of the race waiting for the right moment and hoping also to win the stage.”

He sprinted from a long way out and said that when Robert got past him, he feared that the Lotto Belisol rider had won the race. However that proved not to be the case.

“After the finish someone on the team told me Robert was far behind the day before, and so I was the winner. I am really happy and I have to thank the team. They rode like hell today. In this team everyone helps each other and when you have your chance you can count on this great team to support you.

“Now I am in good condition. I have still a few races in front of me on my program. I will do my best to make the best out of my condition.”

How it played out:

A total of 137 riders left Rotterdam earlier today, beginning a wind-swept 191 kilometre race to Antwerp that would see yesterday’s surprise winner Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) come under attack from the WorldTour riders.

Many were frustrated that the break was sent a shorter route yesterday, handing Wallays an advantage that would see him hang on until the finish. While Wallays undoubtedly rode well to take the victory, and while the blame lay with the race organisation rather than the breakaway riders, the matter made riders who were hoping to fight for the overall all the more determined to try to get back the lost time.

There were many attacks after the peloton raced out of Rotterdam, splintering the bunch, but things came back together by kilometre 35. Soon after Cofidis rider Louis Verhelst (Cofidis) and Garmin-Sharp’s Jacob Rathe slipped clear and built a lead of one minute forty seconds over the course of the next fifteen kilometres.

Rathe beat Verhelst to the intermediate sprint at Neeltje Jans (km 74), while Greipel picked up third. The leading duo were caught soon afterwards.

Greipel’s Lotto Belisol and the Omega Pharma Quick Step squads then ramped up the pressure on Wallays, seeking to distance him. This reduced the peloton to approximately 40 riders, but the race leader held firm.

One consequence was that riders such as Marcel Kittel (Argos Shimano) and Mark Renshaw (Belkin) were dropped. Another was that Wallays’ team-mates were also left behind, putting him in a tough spot when more attacks followed.

After one attack by Greipel proved unsuccessful, the German rider told team-mate Lars Bak to try. He kicked clear 45 kilometres out and opened a half-minute gap by the Kasseistrook cobbled sector. After he took the intermediate sprint of Woensdrecht, fifteen others joined him with 25 kilometres to go. These hammered clear, leaving Greipel, Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma Quick Step) and the race leader Wallays behind.

Along with Bak, the group also consisted of his team-mates Frederique Robert, Jonas Van Genechten and Stig Broeckx, Bryan Coquard (Europcar), Maarten Tjallingii and Maarten Wynants (Belkin), Jonathan Cantwell, Marko Kump and Jonas Jorgensen of Saxo-Tinkoff, Reinier Honig (Crelan-Euphony) and Tristan Valentin (Cofidis), Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma Quick Step), Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil-DCM), Alexander Porsev (Katusha) and Roy Curvers of Argos-Shimano.

Tjallingii (Belkin) was feeling good and attacked hard with fifteen kilometres to go. He built a half-minute lead over the next five kilometres. Behind, the Saxo Tinkoff riders were again driving the pace hard. They brought the gap down to twelve seconds with five kilometres remaining and continued riding well, being assisted by Lotto Belisol.

The lone leader was completely committed, though, and continued to blast on. He held his gap going under the site and raced into the finishing straight with a few seconds’ gap.

Behind, the sprint played out but the riders were too far back to retake Tjallingii, who grabbed a superb win. Frederique Robert (Lotto Belisol) led the chase group home three seconds later, beating Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma Quick Step)

Maes was best placed of the break when the final calculations were done, winning the race by two seconds ahead of Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo Tinkoff) and Reinier Honig (Crelan-Euphony).

World Ports Classic (2.1)

Stage two, Rotterdam to Antwerp:

1, Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) 191 kilometres in 3 hours 55 mins 12 secs
2, Frederique Robert (Lotto Belisol) at 3 secs
3, Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
4, Alexander Porsev (Katusha)
5, Jonas Van Genechten (Lotto Belisol)
6, Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
7, Maarten Wynants (Belkin Pro Cycling Team)
8, Roy Curvers (Team Argos-Shimano)
9, Jonathan Cantwell (Team Saxo-Tinkoff)
10, Reinier Honig (Crelan-Euphony) all same time

Final general classification:

1, Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) 7 hours 28 mins 10 secs
2, Jonathan Cantwell (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) at 2 secs
3, Reinier Honig (Crelan-Euphony)
4, Alexander Porsev (Katusha) at 3 secs
5, Roy Curvers (Team Argos-Shimano) at 4 secs
6, Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
7, Tristan Valentin (Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
8, Stig Broeckx (Lotto Belisol)
9, Marko Kump (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) at 15 secs
10, Jonas Van Genechten (Lotto Belisol) at 30 secs


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