Koen's report of Stage 1 of Franco-Belge
In complete contrast to what you would expect the weather at the
Franco-Belge, the first stage was really warm (28 degrees), without
wind and sunny. I competed here twice before and it always rained
and it's always been cold. So you won't hear me complaining, I'm
finding it great at the moment!
On paper the first stage did not look very tough, with the profile
being pretty much flat and the expectation was for a mass sprint.
Not everyone wanted to just let the stage be played out as a mass
sprint and so for a long time at the start of the stage it was
really hard, with no less than 50.9km covered in the first
Finally a small group of three men got away with Ronan van Zandbeek
on behalve of Skil-Shimano. He took 6 bonification seconds and he
is now well placed in the general classification. The tempo behind
in the peloton was set by a number of teams in order to make a mass
sprint and sure enough that's how it ended up.
The final 600 metres towards the finish ended up being uphill so it
was a tough finish. The plan was that I would have Tom Veelers in
my wheel in about 10th place when the final 600 metres would begin.
The team managed to place us right in that spot but unfortunately
Tom lost my wheel when I went to move up within the riders. We were
back together with 100m to go but that was too late for Tom to
really launch his sprint and he ended up crossing the line in 7th.
I ended up in 9th. That was a real shame because it really would
have been a good finish for us.
Today will be another nice day with little wind. So we'll go out
and see what we can make of it!