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Four Days of Dunkirk: Oliver Naesen takes 2nd overall

Oliver Naesen : « A great satisfaction for a return to racing »

« I knew it was going to be difficult to overtake Philippe Gilbert in the general classification. The bonus seconds he won with his victory in the third stage gave him the advantage he needed to have these four seconds ahead of me. 
Today, it was going too fast to hope to overtake him. Philippe has one of the finest records in the history of cycling and I am still proud to finish alongside him on the podium at the end of these Four Days of Dunkirk.
The top 3 was the goal of the week. It is therefore a great satisfaction for my return to racing after the classics. »Oliver

The number

2

Oliver Naesen finished on the podium at the Four Days of Dunkirk for the second time in his professional career.
He took third place in 2017.
Thirteenth in the last stage, Damien Touzé finished ninth in the final general classification of the Four Days of Dunkerque.
“The last stage was very nervous with a lot of wind. We didn’t have the opportunity to make up the four-seconds Oliver was behind during the bonus sprints despite the team being well placed. But having two riders in the top ten of the general classification for these Four Days of Dunkirk is a very good thing even if we would have preferred to win,” said Stéphane Goubert, directeur sportif for the AG2R CITROËN TEAM.

The news

Giro d’Italia (3rd stage): Lawrence Naesen 16th

Lawrence Naesen finished sixteenth in the third stage of the Giro d’Italia which ended with a bunch sprint.

— Romain Perez Canales to ag2rcitroenteam.com

Four Days of Dunkirk (stage 5): Oliver Naesen 2nd

Oliver Naesen : « That was the goal of the week »

« We knew it would be a difficult and a decisive stage. For me, it was the goal of the week. Since the first stage, lots of people have gained bonus seconds, but we have had no luck there. It was therefore necessary to play an important card.
Second in the stage, second overall, it is not quite what we wanted, but there is great satisfaction all the same because the whole team raced just right. The guys worked very hard especially Damien Touzé who has entered the top 10 as well.
Tomorrow, there are still possibilities but it won’t be easy because it’s going to come down to bonus seconds, and you can’t make a mistake.
In Paris-Roubaix, I was in great shape but I was unlucky. Here, I’m getting started again, the legs are good, and that’s very good for the rest of the season. »Oliver

The number

4

On the eve of the final stage, Oliver Naesen is second on the general classification, 4” behind leader Philippe Gilbert.
Damien Touzé, seventh for the stage, is tenth overall.

The news

Giro d’Italia: Vendrame retrogrades

At the end of the second stage of the Giro d’Italia, a short and demanding time trial in Budapest, Andrea Vendrame dropped to 35th place in the general classification.
“We didn’t have time to admire the buildings of Budapest. It was hard and intense. These first stages allow us to get started gradually before arriving in Italy where the Giro will really start for the AG2R CITROËN TEAM,” Nans Peters said.

— Romain Perez Canales to ag2rcitroenteam.com

Arvid de Kleijn wins Dunkirk opener – Human Powered Health


Movement

Dutchman avoids late crash to take his first victory of 2022

Arvid de Kleijn expertly dodged a crash in the closing meters to sprint to opening day victory on stage one of the 4 Days of Dunkirk.

Although the Dutchman came over the line second in Aniche, provisional winner Sam Welsford (Team DSM), was relegated due to an infringement.

“I was just riding afterwards with PA [Pier-André Coté] talking about how we could do better, then I heard that I’d won!” De Kleijn said from France after the finish with understandably mixed feelings. 

With a slight bend before the line, three sprinters went elbow to elbow to the left of the Dutchman bringing two of the riders to the ground as de Kleijn avoided the carnage and swept over ahead of former program neo-pro Jason Tesson (St Michel – Auber 93). 

“The final was hectic. I was a little bit too far back but I found some space at the end and I could get through,” de Kleijn explained of his tactics. “I thought I was second. I didn’t see what happened on the left side because I was too busy on the right.”

The 28-year-year old surfed the wheels perfectly in the finale having been delivered to Aniche by Coté, Colin Joyce, Wessel Krul, Stephen Bassett, Nate Brown and Gage Hecht

“The guys did all they could. We can do a better job in the coming days, we need to fine-tune the sprint train a little bit more but it’s nice to see that all the guys are committed to the plan.” 

After two podiums in Turkey, the win marks de Kleijn’s first victory of the season which means that he donned both the pink leader’s jersey and green points jersey on the podium afterwards.

The 10-second bonus that he picked up at the finish means that he leads the overall general classification by four seconds.

I hope I will be there again, I think I have the speed in the legs.

The race name may be the ‘4 days of Dunkirk’ but there are actually six stages and with a few more sprint days on the cards, de Kleijn has got what could possibly be a fruitful week, off to the best possible start.

Coverage of stage two starts tomorrow on GCN+ at 8 AM CT. 

4 Days of Dunkirk stage 1 result
1 DE KLEIJN Arvid – Human Powered Health 10” 3:31:14
2 TESSON Jason – St Michel – Auber 93 6” ”
3 EEKHOFF Nils – Team DSM 4” ”
4 BARBIER Pierre – B&B Hotels – KTM ”
5 RENARD Alexis – Cofidis ”

4 Days of Dunkirk points standings
1 DE KLEIJN Arvid – Human Powered Health 15
2 TESSON Jason – St Michel – Auber 93 10
3 EEKHOFF Nils – Team DSM 9
4 BARBIER Pierre – B&B Hotels – KTM 7
5 RENARD Alexis – Cofidis 6 

— Oskar Scarsbrook to humanpoweredhealth.com