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Tour de France

Danny van Poppel remains “determined to reward the team”

Another bunch sprint was expected this Thursday for stage six of the Tour de France, which linked Tours to Châteauroux. With only one fourth category climb in the middle of 160 kilometers of flat and a final on wide roads, everything seemed to favor another opportunity to the fast riders.

However, shortly after the start, several riders decided to spoil the traditional flow of this so-called transition stage. The German Georg Zimmermann, who is making his Tour debut, joined – among others – Thomas De Gendt, Greg Van Avermaet, Kasper Asgreen and Nils Politt at the front of the race. Dissatisfied, the teams of sprinters not represented in this group of eight strong men fought for a long time to bring them back.

After 30 kilometers of racing at a staggering average speed of 53.2 km/h, the fugitives were eventually brought back by the peloton. Immediately afterwards, Van Avermaet (Ag2r) and Kluge (Lotto) counterattacked, constituting the definite breakaway. Well surrounded by his teammates in the pack for the finish later in the day, Danny van Poppel first scored seven points in the intermediate sprint at Luçay-le-Mâle, located at kilometer 104.

The two leading men were swallowed up by the peloton 3 kilometers from the finish, giving way to the preparation of the inevitable bunch sprint on the boulevards of Châteauroux. After an hectic sprint, Mark Cavendish won his second stage of this Tour, while Danny van Poppel finished 18th.

I’m disappointed because the team did a fantastic job all day. I first took part in the intermediate sprint to assess my feelings and I was happy to see that I was in the mix. In the finale, Jonas Koch and my brother Boy brought me back up to the front, in good position as we approached the flamme rouge, but I was on the limit. Then, I battled in the wheels and couldn't fully sprint. It’s obviously a disappointment because things are not going my way at the moment. But we were solid as a team and I felt better than the other days, and that motivates me to stay determined for the next stages"


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