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Vuelta a Espana

Boy van Poppel in the top 10

Without ils sprinter Gerben Thijssen, team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert had to improvise for the eleventh stage of the Tour of Spain, which was concluded by a sprint in the streets of Cabo de Gata. Dutchman Boy van Poppel, who usually is a lead out rider, was brought to the front by Julius Johansen and sprinted to tenth place.

He achieved another top ten in a Grand Tour in the colors of the World Team after his ninth place in Fougères in last year’s Tour de France. Louis Meintjes and Domenico Pozzovivo, who were well protected all day, are now twelfth and twentieth in the provisional classification.

« Many riders agree on the fact that this first week of the Vuelta was very difficult. Julius Johansen and I stayed with our sprinter Gerben Thijssen all the time until last Sunday. He crashed downhill in a wet corner with gravel stones and unfortunately couldn't reach the finish anymore. This was a major setback for us, because this eleventh stage was a perfect opportunity for our sprint train. Today's finish corresponded perfectly with Gerben's characteristics. It was particularly warm today and the presence of the wind caused nervousness. But the hectic final was not a problem for me, Julius and I managed to position well and to stay there until the approach of the sprint. When I saw the finish line I wanted to start my sprint, but unfortunately there was only room to pass through the wind, making me loose some speed. However, I'm satisfied with this top ten. It motivates me to do better. Following the absence of Gerben I'll try my best to offer the team as many results as possible in the sprint finishes in this Vuelta. »



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