Rasmussen beats Ciolek in opening sprint in Dunkerque
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rasmussen beats Ciolek in opening sprint in Dunkerque

by Bjorn Haake at 1:49 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Four Days of Dunkirk

Alex Rasmussen of the Saxo Bank team beat Milram's Gerald Ciolek in the bunch sprint of the opening stage in the Four Days of Dunkerque. Kevin Ista was third in the 148.3-kilometer stage, which started in Dunkerque and ended in Bray-Dunes.

Rasmussen is mostly known for being a track sprinter. "Today's victory was my breakthrough on the road," he said after today's win in a release from his Danish team. "To win a stage in this strong peloton is just indescribably awesome."

For Rasmussen to contend the sprint in the end was not the team's plan. "Actually, my role was to be JJ's [Haedo] lead-out, but I noticed that he was being held back so I went for Ciolek's wheel."

The German went early and tried to win it from the front. "As he opened a long sprint I was able to pass him in the final meters. Of course, I hope to stay in the lead of the race one more day. But it's going to be difficult on the final stages of the race. The stage profiles are uneven like a saw," said Rasmussen.

Ciolek was less pleased, of course. "I had to go for it a bit earlier than planned, since there was another attack near the finish. So it wasn't quite enough at the end for the victory," Ciolek said. He still drew a positive summary from the first day of racing in France. "I am in good form, I have absolutely no physical problems, and I am looking forward to the next days," where he wants to try again.

A quick start saw several riders try to break, but almost 30km were ridden when Arnaud Labbe (Cofidis le Crédit en Ligne), Sep Vanmarcke (Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator) and Rony Artias (Saur – Sojasun) took off.

They established a maximum lead of 4'30 after around 50km, but were caught with 11km remaining.

Vacansoleil was leading the peloton in the final kilometers, which saw the unusual placement of a sprint four kilometers from the line.Pavel Brutt secured this price, before the sprinters took over.


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