Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare) made an impressive return to his native country, as the 23-year-old placed fourth in the opening stage of the Ronde van Drenthe. He was edged out in the sprint by stage winner Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano), Sacha Modolo (CSF), and Adam Blyth (Omega-Pharma Lotto).
The result was nonetheless impressive for the US-based squad which has been racing in Belgium and around Europe in its first season in the Pro Continental ranks.
Van Poppel is a four-time Dutch National Cyclocross Champion (U23/Juniors) and stage winner at the Tour of Missouri and has been racing well this season for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.
Team Director Eric Greene agrees and thinks that the encouraging result is a positive sign looking into May.
"Boy had a good race today and we are pleased with the effort he and his teammates showed today," Greene said.
"The team has spent the past three weeks racing in Belgium against some of the best guys in the world for this style of racing and the experience has prepared them well for the Ronde van Drenthe. Today was a good day and we're looking forward to tomorrow."
Van Poppel was also pleased with his result, but hoped for more come tomorrow’s final stage.
"This team stays together and fights hard every race. I am happy I was able to do my do my part today. We can't wait to get out there tomorrow."
A win would be a fantastic result for the US team, whose presence in the European races hopefully will inspire other foreign teams to enter races like the Ronde Van Drenthe in the future.