Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team was victorious in the 11.1km Tour de l'Ain Stage 2B team time trial on Wednesday, winning with a time of 12'02".
Team NetApp was 2nd with a time of 12'06, and Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank was 3rd at 12'14". Due to the victory, Dario Cataldo, Serge Pauwels and Kristof Vandewalle are 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the GC. Andre Schulze of Team NetApp is the new leader of the GC.
"The parcour was short, only 11 kilometers," Sport Director Jan Schaffrath said. "The first 3km were really technical, with a lot of corners and roundabouts. The second part was on more normal roads, where it was necessary to push hard on the pedals. We were strong in both stretches. In the first part our sprinters Gerald Ciolek and Andy Fenn were important. They kept the speed high out of the corners and relaunched the action. In the second part the rest of the team did a great job. We could also count on the TT skills of Cataldo. We decided our tactic this afternoon after the recon of the parcour. The guys were totally focused on the race, they were really professional in the approach to the race. Everything went as we discussed. Now we will enter in the second half of the race with three difficult stages, especially the last two in the mountains. We will try to fight with Cataldo and Pauwels for the GC. This race is a new start for everybody, a good preparation for the Vuelta, but we want also to be protagonists until the end."
In Stage 2A action on Wednesday morning, Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ-BigMat) won his second stage in a row by beating Andre Schulze (Team NetApp) and Sebastien Chavanel (Team Europcar) to the finish line of the 83km course.
Nikolas Maes was the top OPQS finisher in Stage 2A, finishing in 18th place.
PHOTO CREDIT: James Startt