Chaotic Finish Sees Breakaway Stay Away on Tour of Normandy Stage 322. March 2017, Elbeuf-sur-Seine (FRA) — Development Team
Tour of Normandy stage 3 was billed as another opportunity for the sprinters, however, a technical finish saw the breakaway hold off the chasing peloton as Nathan Van Hooydonck finished safely in the bunch behind to maintain his position in the top five on the General Classification.
Cold, wet weather greeted the riders at today's start line in Duclair, and subsequently, the peloton was happy to let a group of five riders go clear early and start to build up an advantage which reached a maximum of 2'35" after 60km of racing.
At the start of the first of two finishing circuits, the gap had fallen to just 30 seconds as a sixth rider attacked off the front of the peloton to join the breakaway's ranks. But, With the stage looking set for a bunch sprint, teams began to organize themselves at the front of the peloton as the chase to the breakaway heated up.
Eventually, only three riders remained at the head of the race and as the chase behind began to unravel over the technical circuit, the trio were able to hold onto to a narrow lead and take the top three spots on the stage by just a handful of seconds.
With the rest of BMC Development Team finishing in the bunch, Nathan Van Hooydonck and Pascal Eenkhoorn maintained their positions in the top ten on the General Classification behind race leader, Anthony Delaplace (Fortuneo Vital Concept).
Pavel Sivakov and Steff Cars were involved in a crash during Tour of Normandy stage 3. Both riders escaped uninjured and were able to make it back to the peloton and finish the stage.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Nathan Van Hooydonck:
"I was happy to maintain my position on the General Classification after today's stage. There was a strong headwind for most of the day, so the pace was fairly moderate, but that changed completely over the final 30km once the wind dropped and the chase to the breakaway began to heat up."
"In the end, we took over the responsibility of chasing down the breakaway as we really believed in Bram Welten's ability to win a stage here. But with the technical finish it was hard to organize the chase really, and with multiple turns and roundabouts in the final sections, we miscalculated where we all were on the road."
"This is our first stage race of the year, so we are still finding our rhythm but we are preparing well before every day and we are still super motivated to take a win here. I have been close and so has Bram so it is definitely possible for us."
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
“The guys did a good job riding up at the front of the race to help control the breakaway, but unfortunately there was a crash at the front of the bunch involving Pavel Sivakov and Steff Cras. Thankfully both guys were uninjured, but it took a lot of energy to get them back up to the front again. On the local laps, the guys worked hard to bring the gap down to around 20 seconds, but with the wet roads and a technical finish, the breakaway were able to make it to the line. It's not a bad situation for us. Of course, we would have liked the opportunity to go for the stage win again but we didn't lose anytime in terms of the overall General Classification, and now we can refocus our energy on tomorrow."
Tour of Normandy
Stage 3: Duclair > Elbeuf-sur-Seine, 166km
Top 3: 1. Jan Willem Van Schip (Delta Cycling Rotterdam) 2. Damien Gaudin (Armee De Terre) 3. Romain Bacon (Equipe de France)
BMC Development Team Top 3: 41. Bram Welten 43. Pascal Eenkhoorn 44. Nathan Van Hooydonck
BMC Development Team Top 3 on GC: 4. Nathan Van Hooydonck 10. Pascal Eenkhoorn 59. Bram Welten