Despite crashing during the Nature Valley Grand Prix's opening stage, Toyota-United's Ivan Stevic has taken the opening stage victory and leads the event heading into tomorrow's Stage 2. The Serbian national champion recovered from the fall to take victory following an 'amazing' lead out from his squad, headed by Australian Henk Vogels.
"When I crashed today I thought, 'Come on, not again!' Because this is my second crash this year and I always crash because someone is crashing in front of me," explained Stevic after the race. "I was angry. When I'm angry, I'm really dangerous."
Stevic had been left with nowhere to go after a rider went down directly in front of him at the criterium circuit's first corner. Despite the setback the Toyota United squad worked hard to control the field while Stevic worked his way back to the front before executing a flawless sprint to the line.
"I didn't say anything... they know what to do," noted Stevic. "Henk is the ringleader of the lead-out. I mean he's amazing. He knows every second what we have to do... It's so easy."
Meanwhile, cyclo-cross world championship podium finisher Jonathan Page also put in a strong performance to take third after nearly missing the event completely. With his team having pulled out of the event, Page was thrown a lifeline with the assistance of race director Dave LaPorte, and is contesting the event under the Nature Valley banner.
"Actually, [the team is] doing me a big favour," Page said. "I thought I was racing for another team. That team decided not to do the race. So I called up LaPorte and [technical director] Andy Dahl and now I'm here racing for Nature Valley, and I'm happy to be here."