Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tour de Normadie Stages 1 and 2: Sprint & Breakaway

The Tour de Normandie rolls along Northern France in usual fashion along some small roads with rain and wind.

The breakaway slogging through Northern France (

Stage 1 was the longest stage of the race and featured some wonderful "French flat", the undulous terrain that seemingly never has any flat road and is just up and down all day. The breakaway included Max Schachmann (AWT-Greenway), Tom Stewart (Madison-Genesis), Laurent Van den Bak (Leopard Development), Mads Christensen (Riwal) and Conor McConvey (3M) got a maximum gap of 4'25". With 45km to go, Christensen attacked the breakaway and went solo; keeping a gap between 30 seconds to a minute ahead of a BMC Development peloton.

Christensen hit out and was soon joined and passed by Dylan Kowalski (VC Rouen), who had a gap that was just 20 seconds but was soon brought back together. Coming into the finale, Bohli was safe in the peloton but with 2 kilometer to go, a crash swept through the peloton.

Bohli was separated from the peloton but he should have been protected by the 3 kilometer rule.

Coming into the sprint, it was Lucas Destang (Vendée U) who took the sprint ahead of Pascal Ackermann (Germany) and kermesse king Joeri Calleeuw (Verandas Willems). Instead of implementing the 3 kilometer rule, Bohli was originally scored at 13 seconds down and lost his overall lead to Kiwi Tom Scully (Madison-Genesis).
No worry, Mr. Williams, Bohli's lead was re-instated the following day and he took the yellow jersey to the road on Wednesday.
It took 50 kilometers but a breakaway of 4 got away including Stef Van Zummeren (Verandas Willems), Koen Bouwman (SEG Racing), Mike Northey (Madison-Genesis) and Jake Tanner (3M). The breakaway got a gap of 3 minutes but as the above tweet shows, BMC was the impetus in the chase that brought them back. They made it to the finishing circuits in Elbeuf-sur-Seine but made it no more than a few kilometers before Armee de Terre brought everything back together.

A counter attack went 20 kilometers from the finish including Dimitri Claeys (Verandas Willems), Alex Peters (SEG Racing) and ex-SKY rider Josh Edmondson (AnPost-Chain Reaction). The trio got a nice gap against a Joker-led peloton and following a lull by the peloton, Claeys and Peters accelerated on the final climb of the day, leaving Edmondson out in the cold.

Claeys beating out Peters for the win (
Claeys and Peters motored along and even while they were in the sights of the peloton, they were not able to be brought back. Claeys, who has been bouncing around amateur and continental teams for years now, was able to easily beat out Peters from the sprint. Behind, it was Joker's Daniel Hoelgaard taking 3rd ahead of Lukas Jaun (Roth-Skoda) and ex-WT rider Aidis Kruopis (AnPost-Chain Reaction).

BMC Development wasn't able to hold onto their leader's jersey but put in a great ride. Claeys took the overall leader's jersey just 14 seconds ahead of Bohli and 16 seconds ahead of Scully, Destang, Pardini and Hoelgaard. Koen Bouwman leads the KOM jersey while Claeys and Destang are tied at 25 points for the points jersey.

Tomorrow's stage goes into Argentan and looks to be destined for a sprint finish.

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