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Cycling | 11 februari 2018

Van Poppel second in Clasica Almeria

Danny van Poppel has finished second in the Clasica Almeria in Spain. The 24-year-old Dutchman came up short in the sprint. Caleb Ewan took the victory. It’s Van Poppel’s third podium place of the season after his stage win in the first stage and second place in the final stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

The team worked hard all day for Van Poppel. Early in the race, a breakaway group of seven riders broke clear and gained a maximum gap of approximately four minutes. Due to the work of Team LottoNL-Jumbo, the escapees were chased down in the last twenty kilometres. Deep in the final, Van Poppel’s leadout was derailed due to a crash of Koen Bouwman. He injured his hip, but he was able to finish the race. It seems he only has some abrasions.

Sports director Addy Engels saw how a good team performance wasn’t rewarded with a victory, but he looked back at the race with a good feeling. “The plan was that Danny would start the sprint earlier than Ewan. But due to the strong headwind Danny decided to wait. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to beat Ewan on the line. Neverthless, the team have done a great job today. They controlled the race from the start to keep Danny in the front. Unfortunately, Danny was all by himself after Koen’s crash with five kilometres to go, which also held up Gijs van Hoecke who wasn’t able to reach the front anymore.”

Above all, Van Poppel himself was very happy that he had been able to sprint for the win. “It was a relaxed race, really. The team did an amazing job all day and chased down the breakaway. In the end we had two short final laps, but it went wrong on a slippery roundabout. I could avoid the crash, but I was the last one to hook up with the front group. In the sprint, I was in Ewan’s wheel but due to the headwind I waited to start my sprint. I also clicked out of my pedal and ultimately I wasn’t able to beat Ewan on the line. It’s a pity that I couldn’t finish off the teamwork, but I am happy that I was still able to sprint”, said Van Poppel, who’s hoping for more success in Abu Dhabi soon.

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