Tour of Normandy Stage 4: Schäppi in the Breakaway, Welten Third in Bunch Sprint23. March 2017, Argentan (FRA) — Development Team
For a second consecutive day, BMC Development Team was animating the front of the race at Tour of Normandy with Martin Schäppi pushing the peloton to the limit as part of the day's the breakaway before Bram Welten took third in the final bunch sprint.
It was a fast start to stage 4 with the peloton chasing down all early breakaway attempts before a group of four riders, including Schäppi, was able to loosen its grip and go clear 25km into the 163km stage.
As the group settled into a smooth rhythm, their advantage continued to rise, and it eventually peaked at around four minutes before the peloton responded and began to organize their chase.
With a bunch sprint on the cards again, the sprinters' team began to pick up the pace and as the breakaway started the first of three, 10km laps, the gap had been brought to within one minute.
Approaching the start of the final lap, Schäppi attacked from the breakaway and was able to find an extra burst of energy to ride solo at the front of the race before ultimately being reeled in by the charging peloton.
In the end, it was Justin Jules (WB Veranclassics AquaProtect) who took the honors ahead of Fabio Jakobsen (SEG Racing) and Welten following a fast and furious sprint for the line.
Pavel Sivakov was involved in a crash during Tour of Normandy stage 4 but he escaped uninjured and was able to finish the stage.
Unfortunately, Nathan Van Hooydonck was forced to withdraw from the race. An update from BMC Development Team doctor, Dr. Scott Major, will be provided when available.
Quotes from the Finish Line
"It was a fairly calm stage, and we were riding in the front for most of the day. Martin Schäppi was in the breakaway, so that took some of the pressure off us to chase. On the final circuit, it was really hectic but the guys did a good job once again to keep me in front however with the crash and Pascal Eenkhoorn needing a wheel change, we lost some power. In the last 5km, I did my best to position myself, and I started sprinting but got boxed in a bit and didn't have a clear sprint for the line. Third place is the best I could do today, and while it is a good result I am still super motivated to take a win here both for myself and for the team. They have shown so much faith in me and I want to repay them."
"I felt good in the breakaway today. The start was really fast, and I jumped at the opportunity to go in the breakaway. I was hoping for a bigger group, but when we went out, the peloton sat up, and we had to go with it. It was a flat stage today, so I knew it would be difficult to go all the way to the finish, but at the end of the penultimate lap, I decided to attack. You never know what will happen if you don't try. I was happy with my effor today and it was a good test to find out where my form is."
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
"Today was a bit of hectic day. The start went well with Martin Schäppi making it into the breakaway with three other strong riders. I think he held his own in that group and showed he is in good shape by riding solo at the end. Unfortunately, we lost Nathan Van Hooyondonck halfway through the race and then with one and a half laps to go, Pavel Sivakov was involved in a crash. In the end, we just didn't have the horsepower to set up a lead-out for Bram Welten but, he did a great job. I thought he looked the strongest in the pack today, but he got blocked so, he had to start his sprint twice. It was a bit of shame but, once again we have shown we are here to race and to be competitive so we will keep trying."
Nathan Van Hooydonck - Media Update
BMC Development Team doctor, Dr. Scott Major:
“Nathan Van Hooydonck was feeling some knee pain during stage 3 and 4 of Tour of Normandy and with some big races coming up it was better for him to stop and prevent any injury to the joint from worsening. At the moment I don't think it will interrupt his current race schedule but he will go to see an orthopedic specialist to confirm the cause of the pain. After we have those results we will have a clearer picture of the problem and know if we need to take another course of action.”
Tour of Normandy
Stage 4: Le Neubourg > Argentan, 163km
Top 3: 1. Justin Jules (WB Veranclassics AquaProtect) 2. Fabio Jakobsen (SEG Racing) 3. Bram Welten (BMC Racing Team)
BMC Development Team Top 3: 3. Bram Welten 107. Pascal Eenkhoorn 108. Steff Cras