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Cycling | 16 januari 2018

Tour Down Under has kicked off with expected bunch sprint

The first stage of the Santos Tour Down Under has finished in a bunch sprint, as expected. In Lyndoch, Enrico Battaglin conquered the twelfth place on behalf of Team LottoNL-Jumbo. The Italian was slightly hindered at the start of his sprint and he was only just able to avoid a crash.

“I touched another rider in a corner at three hundred metres from the finish. I had to use my brakes, so I lost quite some places. I tried to restart my sprint, but I wasn’t capable anymore to reach a top ten spot”, Battaglin said afterwards.

The fact that the team didn’t steal the show in the sprint festival had been taken into account beforehand due to the absence of both of the team’s top sprinters. George Bennett and Robert Gesink crossed the finish line among the first thirty riders, so they did what was needed to keep their chances high on a good general classification. 

Both Bennett and Gesink are on their way back as they have overcome their physical problems. Sports director Frans Maassen has high expectations nevertheless. “Robert is our leader. He has shown a good level already. Despite the fact that the Tour Down Under is only his first race since he had had to abandon the Tour de France, and despite the quality of the entry here, I reckon we should be able to achieve a top ten result in the general classification”, Maassen said.

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