As the title states, Danish riders have been doing quite well for themselves the past couple of days since we last spoke. After Kristian Haugaard won the opening stage to Flèche du Sud, the Leopard-Trek rider went 2nd on the 2nd stage of Fléche du Sud, which was won by Mauro Richeze of Nippo. Do you think the Danes were done in Luxembourg? NOPE.
The 3rd stage of the Fléche du Sud, a lumpy and rolling stage to Clervaux, saw double Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Michael Valgren drop his breakaway companions of Mirco Saggiorato (EKZ) and Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Development) right near the end and take the win and the overall lead. The Danes are taking over Luxembourg! To be fair, Dane Lasse Bøchman won this event in 2010 and 2011 so this isn't their first invasion. The trio above gained 1:08 over the chasing peloton, which totalled only 34 riders. These three should be vying for GC unless someone goes on the attack.
-Another interesting note from this stage is Eugenio Alafaci's 5th place. Yeah, yeah I know...5th place. Woop di do. Well we are only in May and this is Alafaci's 17th top 10 stage placing. Another interesting point is that Alafaci hasn't come 1st or 2nd in a race yet this year. The Leopard-Trek rider is incredibly consistent but he hasn't overcome the hump yet in terms of victories.
Were the Danes done? NOPE. The Scandanavian invasion went to Germany next for the Tour de Berlin. The first stage was a relatively flat loop around the Berlin suburb of Birkenwerder but even with this, a breakaway was still able to get away. A group of 4 including Timo Roosen (De Jonge Renner), Mathias Moller (Blue Water), Odd Christian Eiking (Norway) and Sjors Roosen (Jo Piels) took it to the line with Timo taking the win over Moller.
The 2nd day featured with a split stage with a short morning TT followed by a road stage. You should already know who won seeing as this is a theme post. You're right! A Dane! This time it was the fast man from Faaborg, Lasse Norman Hansen, the Olympic Gold Medalist in the track omnium, who beat out Sjors Roosen and Blue Water teammate Mathias Moller. With his 2nd place on stage two, Moller took the overall lead with Roosen only 6 seconds back and Hansen in 3rd. On a down note, one of the big favorites, Stölting's Silvio Herklotz, had to pull out because of an overnight sickness, which is a bummer seeing as this is his home race. The afternoon stage saw alliterative first year espoir Willi Willworth (LKT Brandenburg) take the bunch sprint win over the Stölting duo of Jan Dieteren and Phil Bauhaus.
The current GC looks like this:
1) Mathias Moller (Blue Water)
2) Sjors Roosen (Jo Piels) +4
3) Lasse Norman Hansen (Blue Water) +18
4) Steven Lammertink (Jo Piels) +29
5) Jochem Hoekstra (Jo Piels) +35
Full Results can be seen here
Okay, I promise I am done with the Danes for now. Quickly, let us fly south to Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
Thursday's 2nd stage saw Colpack's Niccola Ruffoni take a 2nd stage win in a row, this time ahead of Ruben Geerinckx (Ovyta-Eijssen) and Paolo Simion (Zalf-Euromobil). If we take a look at the video, you can see that Simion (center-green) got an amazing leadout from his teammate Gianluca Milani but didn't have the finishing power to go from 200 meters out and was overhauled before the line.
Friday's stage finally said goodbye to the flats and headed for the hills. A slight uphill into Claut saw the practically ancient Paolo Colonna (1987) keep the Colpack train rolling as he edged out rival Trevigiani rider Daniele Dall'Oste and former Russian wunderkind Ivan Rovny (Ceramica Flaminia). Thanks to bonuses, Michael Schweizer (NSP-Ghost) took the overall lead over Edward Theuns (VL Techniks) and future Lampre rider Jan Polanc (Radenska). As of now there are about 27 riders left with a chance for GC and with no TT, it will come down to the weekend to decide the tight race.
P.S. Watch that video ^^ Some spectacular scenery. Really, what other race has strade bianchi and a road that goes through a tunnel that pops out on a spectacular lake?
There is so much racing this weekend that it'll be hard to keep up. All three of these races will be going on while there is racing all over the place in Europe and the Tour of California starts this week, which will need to be watched because of Bontrager's presence in the race. I'll be trying to keep up but we shall see how that goes.