Lotto-Soudal sprinter André Greipel closed out the Challenge Mallorca with another sprint victory in Palma, topping Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Swiss neo-pro Dylan Page (Team Roth) to take his second win of the week.
After taking 16 victories in 2015, including four high-profile stages of the Tour de France, Greipel showed he is set to continue the winning momentum. “Today the race was even more perfect than Thursday, because the victory was even more convincing," Lotto-Soudal director Bart Leysen said. "Soon, three riders got ahead that we could control easily. Just like Thursday Frederik Frison did most of the chasing. He prepared himself well in the winter, he immediately performed well in his first race.”
Luis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Imanol Estevez (Euskadi Basque Country) and Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) made up the three-man breakaway, which was steadily reeled in over the last part of the race. Bora-Argon 18 tried to set up a lead-out for Sam Bennett, who was a close second on the first day, while Cofidis worked for Bouhanni. But it was Lotto-Soudal's well-drilled lead-out that steamed to the fore and delivered the German to the win.
"Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens took over from Frederik and reacted to the attacks of among other Michal Kwiatkowski and Zdenek Stybar. Cofidis set up a train as well today, but ours was faster," Leysen said.
In addition to Greipel's wins, Leysen pointed to strong showings from Benoot and Wellens in the hillier races on Friday and Saturday as a sign for the coming season.
“The team worked well together and that makes me happy. Our goal was to win a stage with André and we could immediately achieve that the first day. Also today was a success. We also had riders in our team for the two tougher races. Also those days we left our mark and set some nice results. Tiesj got fourth Friday and third yesterday; Tim was tenth yesterday. It’s could to see that our young riders keep developing and take the initiative themselves now. After today’s race the riders did an extra sixty kilometres. Tomorrow they can rest and then we will have three more days of training on the island.”
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