THE HAGUE, Aug 7, 2012 (AFP) – The Orica-GreenEdge team won the second
stage of the Eneco Tour of the Low Countries on Tuesday, an 18km team
time-trial, as the Saxo Bank team of former Tour de France winner Alberto
Contador slumped to ninth.
The Australian team clocked 21min 09sec in the race around Sittard to
finish one second ahead of Belgian outfit Omega Pharma-Quickstep, with
Russia’s Katusha third 2sec off the pace.
Belgian Jens Keukelaire was the first Orica rider to cross the finish line,
and he takes the overall leader’s jersey from Germany’s Marcel Kittel, of the
Spaniard Contador is making his comeback from a two-year doping ban but his
team finished ninth fastest at 27sec.
“I felt good and my legs are going quite well, but it was too flat a
time-trial for me, because it is on the climbs where I can really make a
difference,” he said.
“I am happy with the time, we synchronized well with each other, but there
were teams out there who are better suited to this stage than us and for whom
this race is more important, because we have other objectives further ahead.
“We will recover for the coming days and continue our fine-tuning for the
Tour of Spain.”
Wednesday’s third stage covers 188km from Riemst to Genk in Belgium and
should favour the sprinters, with the race finishing on Sunday.