BMC Development Team One-Two on Tour d’Alsace Stage 328. July 2017, Blotzheim (FRA) — Development Team
BMC Development Team dominated the final uphill sprint on Tour d’Alsace stage 3 with Jasper Philipsen taking the day’s honors ahead of teammate, Bram Welten.
The action was non-stop on stage 3 with the first 100km, which included the two categorized climbs of the day, providing the backdrop to a constant stream of attacks.
Pascal Eenkhoorn and Callum Scotson were involved in the earlier moves, but every breakaway attempt was only given the freedom to gain between 30 seconds and one minute before being reeled in by the main bunch.
It wasn’t until the peloton headed into the final 40km, of the 144.7km course, that three riders were able to extend an advantage of more than one minute.
However, the peloton continued to keep tight control of the race, and as soon as the gap reached two minutes, the pace picked up with BMC Development Team moving up to the front to help pull the leading trio back and set the stage for a fast and furious finale.
With the final breakaway caught inside 5km to go, the battle for position began and in the end, it was Philipsen and Welten who were in the best position when a final explosive sprint was launched on the steep 500m kick up to the line in Blotzheim.
As the finish line came into view, it was Philipsen who proved he was the fastest on the day, taking the win just ahead of his BMC Development Team teammate, Welten.
Steff Cras also tested his legs in the sprint to avoid the splits in the main bunch behind and crossed the line inside the top twenty to move into fifth on the General Classification, 39 seconds behind race leader Markus Hoelgaard (Joker - Icopal).
The Winner’s Interview with Jasper Philipsen
Congratulations, Jasper! How are you feeling after today's win?
"I feel really good. I am happy that I could take the win and that Bram Welten was second behind me. It was great for the team. I didn't expect it after yesterday because it was such a hard stage. But, I was feeling really good at the beginning of the stage. I have been looking ahead to the European Championships and hoping to build my form again for that, so this win gives me a lot of confidence."
Talk us through the final sprint.
"The finish was harder than I expected. I knew it went up but as we went around the roundabout with 1km to go, I saw the finish, and it was steeper than I thought it would be. I was in a good position at that point though which was good as it was really hectic and we were taking a lot of risks. I was able to sit in the wheels for a little bit, and the first rider launched their sprint with 200m to go but this was a little early, and I was able to overtake them and go to the finish. I was slowing down a little bit on the way to the finish line, but I could hold on until the end which was great."
This is your first race back after a mid-season break. Does this win give you a lot of confidence looking ahead to the rest of the season?
"Definitely. I had around one month without racing, and I wasn't sure about my condition coming into this race. I knew I would need to find my racing legs again as well as my confidence but today I felt good on my bike. It was a really hard stage today. We were racing hard all day, and one team was always controlling the race. I think over the first two hours we were racing at an average of 47km/h. It slowed down a little bit, but we were still way ahead of the fastest race schedule."
Quotes From the Finish Line
"Before today's stage, I wasn't sure if it would suit me because it was slightly uphill with 1km to go and then the final 500m was really steep, more than 10%. But, I am in a really good condition at the moment, and this really showed today, and I think it is why I could do well here. I didn't know I could be good on finishes like this but, I was able to keep on the wheel of Jasper Philipsen, and he is super strong on roads like this. Today was a great result for the team, and although I didn't win, I am happy that Jasper could finish it off and that I could take second. There is another opportunity for a sprint on stage 5, so we will see what happens then."
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
"We wanted to go for the sprint today as we knew it would be a very fast course with a little crosswind at the beginning and then a tailwind. All day we saw breakaway after breakaway go clear and gain no more than one minute before the peloton chased them down. This was the story of the first part of the race. Eventually, with less than 50km to go, three riders were able to gain more of an advantage. However, we then set a fast pace behind to close the gap. I believed that in the final we had two of fastest guys here, even with the short climb to the line, and I was confident that we could take the win with one of them. So, to finish one-two is perfect. This is a great win for Jasper Philipsen, and it was good to see Bram Welten put in a big performance on the steep uphill sprint."
"Steff Cras is still in a good position on the General Classification, and he made sure he was sprinting to the line to avoid the splits behind him. Tomorrow is another big GC day, and I think we can be confident going into the stage as we saw that Steff was in good shape yesterday and this will be another stage that suits him."
Stage 3: Belfort > Blotzheim, 144.7km
Top 3: 1. Jasper Philipsen (BMC Development Team) 2. Bram Welten (BMC Development Team) 3. Alexander Krieger (Leopard Cycling)