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Blanco take wins across Europe in tour de force

By:
Cycling News
Published:
June 17, 2013, 3:27 BST,
Updated:
June 17, 2013, 4:27 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, June 17, 2013
Race:
Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk
Lars Boom (Blanco) was able to successfully defend his yellow jersey on the final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer

Lars Boom (Blanco) was able to successfully defend his yellow jersey on the final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer

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Overall victories for Boom, Martens while Mollema finishes runner-up at Suisse

Sunday proved a big day for Blanco, with Lars Boom securing overall victory in Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk, Paul Martens taking out the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg while Bauke Mollema secured second overall at the Tour de Suisse.

Boom's task was to stay upright on the final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer, with his lead not under threat on Sunday, where Pim Lithgart (Vacansoleil-DCM) took the win.

"Everything went well today, just like it did the entire week," said Boom afterwards. "With an eye on the Dutch Championships, I wanted to confirm my form here and that is a tick in the box. This is good for my confidence."

Sunday's result was an improvement for Boom who finished second overall in 2012.

The team produced consistent results over the five days of the event with Robert Wagner winning the prologue and donning the yellow jersey for two days. Theo Bos got the better of sprint rivals André Greipel (Lotto Belisol), Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Marcel Kittel (Argos – Shimano) to win the second stage before Boom took the honours in the Queen Stage with a powerful late attack.

Martens' victory in Luxembourg moved up from third overall with his performance on the final day, finishing second to RadioShack Leopard's Bob Jungels to be elevated up the general classification.

"It's unbelievable – indescribable!" Martens said. "I've been close before, but this is the first time I've actually won a stage race. I came here looking for the win although I did not tell anyone beforehand."

"I am very happy that it's played out in a win because in that way, I can pay the team back. They worked unbelievably hard for me the past few days. Without them, I could not have done it."

Like Martens, Mollema's final day ride in Switzerland improved his fortunes. He rode to third place for the 26km mountain time trial behind Rui Costa (Movistar) and Mathias Frank (BMC). The won confirmed Costa's overall victory.

Mollema was pleased with his performance on Sunday.

"It really went extremely well," he explained. "This was perhaps my best time trial ever. I had made a plan with the team management ahead of time and it turned out to be spot on. In the first section, I did not go full out, given that there would be a climb of half an hour later on. We also planned the timing of the bike change and the amount of water I would take in – and it all went like clockwork."

It all points encouragingly to the Tour de France which begins in Corsica on June 29.

"I am very satisfied, this is a great result. Outside of the three grand tours, the Tour of Switzerland is perhaps the most important stage race of the year and to be second therein is very nice," Mollema said.

"My form is good – not a lot has to happen. This was a good test. I am going to ride in the Dutch Championships, train a few more times and then we head to Corsica for the Grand Départ."

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