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22 July 2015 - 19:07

Van Poppel sprints to second in GP Cerami

"It was a perfect finish for Gilbert, it was uphill and that is his specialty. So it’s not a shame to be second.”

It was a small group that sprinted for the win in the 211-kilometer Grand Prix Cerami Wednesday with Philippe Gilbert (BMC) coming out on top, just edging out Trek Factory Racing’s Danny van Poppel who finished a close second.

Van Poppel explained how the race unfolded:

“Eugenio [Alafaci] and myself were in a large breakaway of 40 riders that was away for almost all the race.  Then on the local circuits it was really hard because a breakaway of five riders went away. The other teams were pulling – (Etixx) QuickStep was pulling for Tom Boonen and also the Lotto (Soudal) guys.

“In the sprint we caught them and I was in Tom Boonen’s wheel and I came over him 100 meters before the finish and I thinking I was going to win. But then Gilbert came from behind and just beat me at the line.

“It was hard and I was very disappointed at first, but now I have had some time to think about it, and I am happy with the second place.  It was a perfect finish for Gilbert, it was uphill and that is his specialty. So it’s not a shame to be second.”

With every team represented in the 42-man bunch that finally moved clear after repeated attempts were made to form a breakaway there was no incentive to chase behind, and it soon became apparent the winner would come from the large front group.

If you do [the sprint] again maybe he can win there, but that’s always what you can say afterwards that if I did this or that…we are very happy that Danny was second.

Eugenio Alafaci also made the split for Trek Factory Racing, and he proved to be a valuable asset for van Poppel on the three final laps of 13 kilometers where aggressive attacks split the large group and later pared off a dangerous breakaway.
 
“Eugenio was there, too, but he was not feeling so strong so I told him immediately to just help Danny as much as he could,” said sport director Luc Meersman. “And he did his job until he was dropped with some guys.”
 
“On the local laps there were some attacks and there were five guys in the lead on the last lap, including World Cyclocross Champion Mathieu van der Poel, but they took them back with around 600 meters to go,” Meersman continued.
 
“Danny was well placed; he was in the wheel of Tom Boonen, who went from very far. And Danny came over him but in the last 50 meters Gilbert came from behind. If you do [the sprint] again maybe he can win there, but that’s always what you can say afterwards that if I did this or that…we are very happy that Danny was second.”

 

 
Wednesday
22

Grand Prix Cerami

Belgium
1
Philippe Gilbert
BMC Racing
4:44:03
2
Trek Factory Racing
s.t.
3
Tom Devriendt
Wanty-Groupe Gobert
s.t.

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