Norwich, Norfolk, UK – UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team sprinter, Boy van Poppel (NED), added to his list of podium placing performances in 2012 with his second place finish today in the opening stage of the 2012 Tour of Britain, a 203km, four hour and 51-minute excursion from Ipswich to Norfolk Showground. Team Sky’s Luke Rowe (GBR) took the victory on the day and jumped into the overall lead, narrowly edging out van Poppel in the final sprint in front of a capacity crowd at the Royal Norfolk Showground. Endura Racing’s Russell Downing (GBR) rounded out the podium finishing in third place.
In a stage marred by crashes that included a mid-stage crash that split the bunch down to a select group of just under 40 riders and another with just over a kilometer to go to the finish (which saw Rowe’s teammate, Mark Cavendish (GBR), go down with several other riders), van Poppel’s teammate, Jonny Clarke (AUS), kept Team UnitedHealthcare front and center on the day, getting and staying in a breakaway of four that at its peak built a seven-minute plus lead on the field before being reeled in.
Van Poppel’s second place finish today opened the September racing calendar for the Team in the same manner the U.S. based Pro Continental squad closed out its red-hot August – on the podium.
Team Director, Hendrik Redant, said, “This was a great way to start the Tour of Britain as the boys continue to ride aggressively. Jonny Clarke was able to get in the first successful break along with three other riders, building a maximum lead of seven minutes and 50 seconds. Then, Team Sky decided to start controlling the race as they have Mark Cavendish in their ranks and a sprint was to be expected. Jonny’s group managed to stay away until about 20km to go before the break was caught, but it was still a great move by Jonny as we didn’t have to chase at all.”
Redant continued, “In our morning meeting we talked about Boy being our guy for the win today. In the last 20km, the roads got very narrow and crashes were almost inevitable. Due to the crashes, a group of 37 riders got away, amongst them Boy and Chris Jones. Boy knew what to do in the last kilometer, and was fortunately able to avoid another crash that occurred at just over 1km from the finish and managed to close the gap on the two riders that got away, ultimately taking second place on the day.”
“This is such a great tour and in a tough sport like this, it is not easy to land on the podium. But this Team works hard. They listen to the strategy, they race hard and they fight hard for each other. We are happy Boy was able to get second today and we are pleased with the result. This was another good day for our Team on the international level.”
Van Poppel will start Stage 2 tomorrow in the blue points jersey.
The Tour of Britain is now the UK’s biggest professional bike race and the country’s largest free-to-watch sporting event. The Tour continues tomorrow, Monday, September 10, with the Nottingham to Knowsley, Stage 2 venture.
TEAM UNITEDHEALTHCARE ROSTER FOR THE 2012 TOUR OF BRITAIN (September 9-16, 2012):
Robert Förster (GER)
Jonny Clarke (AUS)
Chris Jones (USA)
Marc de Maar (CUR)
Kai Reus (NED)
Boy van Poppel (NED)
Team Director: Hendrik Redant (BEL)
THE TOUR OF BRITAIN
The 2012 Tour of Britain will take place Sunday, September 9 – 16, 2012.
Stage 1: Sunday, September 9, Ipswich to Norfolk Showground
Stage 2: Monday, September 10, Nottingham to Knowsley
Stage 3: Tuesday, September 11, Jedburgh to Dumfries
Stage 4: Wednesday, September 12, Carlisle to Blackpool
Stage 5: Thursday, September 13, The Stoke-on-Trent Stage
Stage 6: Friday, September 14, Welshpool to Caerphilly
Stage 7: Saturday, September 15, Barnstaple to Dartmouth
Stage 8: Sunday, September 16, Reigate to Guildford
Re-launched in 2004 after a five year absence from the calendar, The Tour of Britain is now the UK’s biggest professional cycle race and the country’s largest free-to-watch sporting event.
Ranked at the 2.1 level by the UCI, the sport’s governing body, The Tour of Britain attracts some of the world’s top cyclists, including Olympic and World Champions and Tour de France stage winners, to compete on British roads each September.
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For details of The Tour of Britain, go to www.tourofbritain.co.uk
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