Zdenek Stybar's victory on stage two of the Eneco Tour in Vlijmen was Omega Pharma-Quick Step's 50th of the season on the road and 52nd in total. The defending champion of the race and Czech national champion's victory also saw him take over the overall classification which he leads by one second ahead of Lars Boom (Belkin).
"I feel pretty relaxed now despite a very hectic final," Stybar said after his win. "Everything turned out well and I'm happy with my victory. In the final we were there with the whole team, and we started to make an echelon with the crosswind. We were just riding hard and in perfect position. I knew in advance that I have to be in front on the cobblestones, especially because they were wet. There were only two lines on the cobbles where you could ride safely."
With a three-man break away caught in the final 11km, attacks came thick and fast off the front of the peloton and it was only with 1.5km left to race that the winning move was made by Stybar, Lars Boom (Belkin), and Manuel Quinziato (BMC) who opened a small gap.
Stybar explained that while a flurry of attacks were being launched, he stayed cool and waited for the right moment.
"Philippe Gilbert (BMC) in that movement tried to ride away on the left side," he said of the move Gilbert made with 2.5km left to race. "We were all on the right side. but we closed the gap. Then Vanmarcke tried on his own, so that was the moment when I jumped on someone's wheel. Then when we caught up to that move with 1.5 kilometers to go, I saw Boom and Quinziato going. So I directly jumped on their wheel. They were giving everything and I knew that Lars would go full gas to the final to try and win in his hometown."
With Belkin teammates Boom and Vamarcke being joined Bauke Mollema, Stybar added that his only chance of victory was to set on their wheels and wait for the sprint.
"I didn't work with the others because I knew if I did, I would lose the sprint," he said. "In that moment Bauke Mollema came back and he started his sprint a bit early. I took over on the front for the sprint probably at about 250 meters to go, in front of the turn. It was a really long sprint. At one moment I thought it was too long, but I managed to stay in front and take the win."
With stage 3 a race against the clock, Stybar explained that is unsure whether he will hold onto the overall lead but will do his best to keep the white jersey on the 16.1km course around Breda,
"I just have to see what will happen in the time trial," he said. "I think it will be important to not lose too much time. I'm not a time trialist, but I trained a lot on the Specialized Shiv. So, I'm curious how I'll do tomorrow and I'll do my best to defend my jersey and minimize any time losses."
The time trial will introduce gaps into the general classification but there remains other opportunities for riders to clinch the win as Stybar explained of his tactics for the five stages left in the race.
"We're a really strong team and the last three days should suit me. The condition is good, so I will try to go for it, whether that means winning another stage or winning the GC for the second year in a row.
"We'll see what I can do. I have to thank my teammates for doing such good work to put me in the position to fight for the win today."