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Tour de Liege 2014 Journal


A review of the Tour de Liege

1st STAGE: WANZE-WANZE

After a very good Team Time Trial, Jimmy, Stef and Egidijus joined Gregory, Gertjan and Emiel at the sports-hotel in Blegny last night. Stef got awake after very rough night, spending lots of time ..... at the men’s room.
Team3M needed to change tactics a little bit as we knew that Stef could do great things later in the week. Plans were made so that Team3M would get in a good situation for days to come.
12 km into the race a dozen of riders got away, including Jimmy and Egidijus. Needless to say this was the perfect situation. The leaders had to work very hard to get a gap of more than 30 seconds. this hard work reduced the lead group 10 guys. By the time the peloton got back to a gap of only 25 sec, Egidijus flatted...
The leading group kept battling to grow the gap. This resulted in more guys falling out and reduce the leading group to 6 guys. The gap became 2 minutes max. All day long the peloton kept chasing. this was good for all of our riders, Jimmy felt great and in the peloton our riders could relax a bit and control.
During the local laps the leading group got split up again and soon only 3riders stayed in front including Jimmy and Espoir world champion Cyclocross Mathieu Van Der Poel. The gap came down to about 30 seconds.
In the last 5km, the peloton went super fast and got the 3 leaders in sight.
They could hold it till the finish line, where Jimmy got 3rd. In the field gallop Egidijus got 3rd, meaning he got 6th of the day. Team3M got second team of the day.
Conclusion of the first stage: plan accomplished. Top-3 with Jimmy, all riders within good time-placings, Top-3 team placing (2nd). Stef made it all day long, but needs another day to recuperate from his discomfort.
More attacking racing of Team3M to come…

2nd STAGE: SAFETY FIRST

At Team3M we want riders to push their limits, but we do not take risks. Stef got to 40 C° fever last night. That was the point that made us decide to take Stef out of the race. Too bad as Stef prepared very much for this stage-race and his form was visible on Sunday in the Team Time Trial, but health goes above everything.
So we started we 5, obviously to protect Jimmy's 3rd place (he was wearing the green jersey today as he is second behind yellow-jersey Mathieu Van der Poel). We still wanted to get through the day low profile as the last 3 days would be super hard.
Gregory was really active in the beginning of the race and scored 5 point for the mountains jersey.
A little brake went away without us or the Race-leader. the brake got max. 1min 25 sec. Under leadership of the Yellow jersey, his troops, Croford and Team3M the gap was reduced to 45 sec. At that moment federal police neutralized the race as they decided safety was not guaranteed anymore. 15 minutes of negotiations between, police, organization, cycling federation and teams resulted in a final stop where results of sprint points, climbing points were kept but with no end day result, so General Classification stay as it was last night with Jimmy on 3rd and in green jersey. This way the race was 27 km shorter than foreseen. The next day the real climbing starts. Team3M is prepared.

3rd STAGE: CHARACTER

Bad luck again as last night it became clear that Emiel VERMEULEN had broken his elbow... it proves how determined and full of character Emiel needs to be as he finished the second stage after crashing 60km in the race. He did a perfect teamjob yesterday. But as the night came, pain was not bearable anymore, so we went to the hospital and he got X-rays… We wish Emiel a quick and good recovery, his target is to be ready for Tour of East-Flanders in august.
So down to 4 riders Team3M needed to change tactics. Early on in the race a group of 20 guys went including Jimmy. later in the race another group of 20 joined the leaders including Egidijus and Gertjan. That was a perfect situation. With the help of Egidijus a split was made with 24 guys where Jimmy could just sit-in. In the local laps it was a firework of attacks and at the end a group 14 went off, headed by Jimmy. Since everybody was looking at Jimmy (as he was obviously the strongest in this group) in the last km 4 guys got away. They got 20 sec. Finally Jimmy got 8 and Egidijus 16th. In the GC Jimmy was than 5th at 23 sec. Given the fact that two more hard days were coming and we are down to 4 guys, this was a very good situation to be in.

4th STAGE: THE HEAT IS ON…

Overcome 30 C° and more and protect a 5th place in GC where the tasks today. The race started slow, but Team3M had a rider in all little brakeaways.Egidijus was in the brake that lasted the longest and guaranteed an 'easy' afternoon for Jimmy. Towards the end, by the time that everybody started thinking that it would come to a bunch sprint a group of 4 escaped including Gregory Franckaert. One more guy joined this last escape, so this group sprinted for victory. Gregory got 4th, 8 seconds later Egidijus won the bunch-sprint, so ended hip 6th today.
He's still 5th and Egidijus is 14th on just over a minute. This race-result kept all G.C. guys at the same place, so Jimmy was in good shape for a great result tomorrow.

5th STAGE: UNDER PRESSURE

Last day started (again) with bad news. Overnight Gregory had become sick with about 39 C° fever... So Team3M was down to 3 Men: Egidijus Juodvalkis, Gertjan Devos and Jimmy Janssen. More than ever we played on Jimmy (try the stage and maybe the GC...). Our plan was to put the leader under pressure from km 1. And even more so on two of the hardest climbs of the day 4 and 5 (of the 10 climbs).So right from the gun Egidijus attacked with 2 other guys, this group grew to 14 people and got max 2 minutes. Egidijus was for about 40 km vitrual leader. On the hard climbs when the peloton was closing the gap, Gertjan launched an attack with 4 other riders. From then on the pressure was high for the leader. after a long chase headed by the leader all came together again. In a long and dangerous downhill the leader escaped with one other rider. Nobody wanted to work with Jimmy to bring this back. Then Jimmy launched his counterattack. He and one other rider stayed the only threat for the leader. No matter what effort Jimmy did, the leader was gone. Jimmy got second and became second overall, second also in the points GC and 3rd in the climbing GC. All 3 Team3M riders; Jimmy, Gertjan and Egidijus rode a super disciplined race, but came across a great ex-junior world-champion Cyclo-cross who became the well deserved winner. Team3M raced a perfect race, didn't win but made a lot of personal progress.
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