Barbier sprints to fourth place after impressive leadout

Israel Start-Up Nation set up Rudy Barbier perfectly for the final sprint on stage 2 of Arctic Race of Norway with an impeccable leadout.

Knowing that Friday’s stage would be a good opportunity for the sprinters to shine, the ISN guys were the determined to get in the mix. The team helped set the pace in the peloton, bringing back the early breakaway for the expected bunch sprint in Kilpisjärvi (Finland).

At the end, Tom Van Asbroeck and Rick Zabel pulled off an incredible leadout for Rudy Barbier who sprinted to fourth place on the day. The Frenchman was aiming for more but unfortunately, he suffered a hard crash earlier on the stage, which held him back in the sprint.

Tomorrow, the queen stage of Arctic Race of Norway awaits with the uphill finish in Målselv. ISN will be banking on Ben Hermans to fight for a good result.

Sports director, Nicki Sørensen: “It makes me happy to see such a strong team performance as we saw today. Unfortunately, Rudy [Barbier] crashed hard halfway through the stage and landed up in a ditch. Taking that into consideration, I think this was a good result. The leadout was impeccable. Once again, Rick [Zabel] and Tom [Van Asbroeck] show how incredibly good they are at this. Also Guy Sagiv was very impressive today. He pulled a lot yesterday and today he was up there again. He’s really strong at the moment. We didn’t get the win today but I’m still very satisfied with the guys.”

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com

‘Textbook lead-out’ results in fifth for Greipel in Turkey

ISN-sprinter André Greipel was brought to a great position by his teammates in stage 3, but just lacked a tiny bit of explosiveness to finish off the amazing teamwork by the sprint train.

The longest stage in the Tour of Turkey also turned out to be fast. It was not only because the course would drop down almost 1,000 meters, but the fast pace set by the peloton brought the riders quickly to the finish in Alanya.

As we headed out of the mountains, the Jinga winter jackets could finally be taken off. The temperature rose from 2 degrees Celsius at the start, to 24 at the finish. The last forty kilometers were along the Mediterranean coastline and allowed the ISN-sprint train to gather.

Greg Henderson, Israel Start-Up Nation’s performance coach, saw the train slowly but steadily gain dominance as the finish got closer. The former professional cyclist, who now shares his thoughts and experiences as a coach for the team, said after the stage he saw an ‘impeccable sprint train’.

And he was right. ISN took the lead in the peloton at the perfect moment. Greipel was perfectly following his teammates, and his lead-out was timed to perfection. “A textbook lead-out,” Henderson said.

But in the end, Greipel had to settle for fifth. According to Henderson, the German sprinter just lacked a little explosiveness. “The train is on point, the strength is there, and he has the power. We just need to work a bit on his explosiveness.”

Winning a stage remains ISN’s goal in the Tour of Turkey, and there are still a number of stages that could be contested by a bunch sprint.

— Sjors Beukeboom to israelcyclingacademy.com