Cycling | 31 januari 2018
Stage win for Van Poppel in first race for Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Danny van Poppel immediately showed his prowess during his first race for Team LottoNL-Jumbo. The 24-year-old Dutchman was victorious in the first stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. In the bunch sprint he was by far the strongest. This didn’t only result in a stage win, he became the leader in the general classification.
It meant Van Poppel’s thirteenth career victory and the first stage victory for Team LottoNL-Jumbo in 2018. He did not expect to seize his first victory during his first race for his new team. "I was very nervous at the start of the race, because everything is new; the team, the teammates, but everything immediately fell into place. The lead-out was perfect. I am very happy with this victory. Before, I had put my mind to this stage and to the last of this stage race", said Van Poppel, who immediately looked ahead to the next goal.
Sports director Grischa Niermann was very pleased with the victory of one of the newcomers to Team LottoNL-Jumbo. "This went exactly as we had planned. We were confident about Danny and with this victory he showed we were right about him. He did not do it alone, because we controlled the race throughout the day. Koen Bouwman was in front of the peloton for a long time to give the lead-out plenty of space afterwards." That lead-out consisted of regular sprint preparers Jos van Emden and Gijs Van Hoecke. Later, Robert Wagner was also added to the lead-out group. This season, team LottoNL-Jumbo presents itself even more as a formidable protagonist in the mass sprint with their top sprinters Danny van Poppel and Dylan Groenewegen.
Tomorrow, Van Poppel will start in the yellow leader's jersey. Niermann wants to defend the jersey, but he remained realistic. "It will be a difficult stage that is not necessarily perfect for Danny. It is probably better suited to Primoz Roglic. But we are going to enjoy the lead and that is something we should be very happy about now”, Niermann said.