Van Avermaet and Drucker Finish Second and Third on Day One in Luxembourg31. May 2017, Luxembourg Ville (LUX) — Road Team
The ŠkodaTour de Luxembourg opened in traditional style today with a short but sharp prologue which saw Greg Van Avermaet and Jempy Drucker clock the second and third-fastest times respectively after impressive rides over the 2.1km course.
While the course may have been short, it certainly packed a punch with riders tackling a 350m cobbled climb, with an average gradient of 15%, before the final run into the line.
As the first riders began to roll off the ramp, it was Damien Gaudin (Armee de Terre) who set an early benchmark of 3:00:47 which eventually proved to be enough to secure the stage win and the first leader’s jersey of the race.
Van Avermaet, who is making his return to racing following his impressive Classics campaign, showed strong form out on the course and crossed the line in 3:01:15 to finish just off the podium in second place.
While Drucker, who won the prologue in 2016, looked determined as he started his effort and worked hard over the full length of the race before eventually settling for third, 4 seconds behind Gaudin.
In his first race with BMC Racing Team, Nathan Van Hooydonck showed his potential by setting the provisional fourth-best time when he crossed the line before eventually finishing just outside the top ten.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“I am pretty happy with my ride. I was not expecting anything coming into today's race, but it is a course that really suits me. It’s a bit disappointing that I am not in my best condition right now but I am happy with what I did, and we will see what happens over the next few days.”
“As we expected, it was hard. I gave it my all, and in the end, there were two guys better than me. Every year is different here even if the conditions are the same so, I knew it would be hard to defend the win, but I am still up there. I didn’t lose 20 seconds or anything. I was close in the end but, it’s a pity, and I am a bit disappointed. I have nothing to blame because I made no mistakes. I went as hard as I could, and it was simply not enough.”
“It is always nice to win on home soil, so my motivation at this race is not a problem. Greg Van Avermaet is always competitive even if he is coming out of a break and I know him very well. The main goal for BMC Racing Team is to win races, and it doesn't matter who it is on the top of the podium.”
Nathan Van Hooydonck:
“I expected it to be hard today but not that hard. I went really deep, and my lungs were burning for a long time after it, but I had a lot of fun, and I bet there will be more fun waiting for us over the rest of the week.”
“You’re finished before you know it. The first corners were quite tricky as you hit them with a lot of speed and it’s slightly downhill. Then, you make the turn onto the small cobbled road a bit like the Koppenberg in Flanders. It was really steep, and you have to go full gas there as I think that’s where you could really make a difference.”
ŠkodaTour de Luxembourg
Prologue: Luxembourg - Luxembourg, 2.14km
Top 3: 1. Damien Gaudin (Armee de Terre) 2. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) 3. Jempy Drucker (BMC Racing Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Greg Van Avermaet 3. Jempy Drucker 12. Nathan Van Hooydonck