Posted by Editoress on 04/15/11
Team Director Steve Bauer discusses Stage 1 of the Albert Achterhes Profronde Van Drenthe
We expected that the flat, narrow, often bricked roads of northern Holland would offer up a nervous race from start to finish. We were to get a taste of one cobblestone section for stage one and a twisty, tight, final 20 kilometres with one very steep hill over "the dump" called the VamBerg. The race would likely be played out from the entrance to the VamBerg to the finish.
Our strategy was to make the breakaway if Lotto, Vacansoleil, Skil-Shimano or the strongest teams were in the move. We were to save our guns for the final kilometres and try to control the front as best we could for Keven Lacombe and the sprint.
A three-man break went very early in the race and gained a maximum of six minutes and 30 seconds. The gap gradually came down with 100 kilometres to go. When the gap was one minute and 30 seconds with 30 kilometres to go, Team SpiderTech went to the front and rode to the sprint. "It was a real battle to stay in front," said Mark Batty. "I received an elbow in the ribs and Keven was getting punished behind us to stay in front ... It was nuts."
Parisien attacked hard on the Vamberg and went clear with four others. When they were absorbed, the Team continued to force the front, keeping Keven out of the wind. "Skil-Shimano did a good job of battling with us in the final kilometres," said Hugo Houle.
Kenny VanHummel of Skil-Shimano took the win with Lacombe of Team SpiderTech finishing with a well earned fifth place.
Tomorrow will be the second stage: Eight sections of cobblestones, three times through the VamBerg and the same crazy twisty sprint finish. Stay tuned ...
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