Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team Sports Director Tom Steels said Trofeo Palma — the first day of Trofeo Mallorca — was a 116km criterium that, despite the efforts of OPQS, ended up in a bunch sprint.
Kenny De Haes (Lotto Belisol) took the victory, with Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) placing 2nd and Ben Swift (Sky ProCycling) taking 3rd. OPQS let the other teams battle it out in the final, as their attempt for a good result was earlier in the stage.
"As I said before the race, we don't really have someone on the team who is here for the sprint," Steels said. "Meersman is fast, but we will save him and the team for tomorrow and the last day. With the team, we tried something with 3km to go, but it was 'mission impossible.' We wanted to see how the guys were with the legs. You never know — cycling is funny, you can maybe do something if you try — but it was really difficult today. So, once we tried, and it didn't work out, it came down to the bunch sprint."
Steels said it was a good first race for young riders like Carlos Verona, who is new to the team and also from Spain. It was also a first race in OPQS colors for Meersman and Gianluca Brambilla.
"They were a little nervous maybe, but overall they really were fine," Steels said. "Carlos, Brambilla, everyone was OK. They just enjoyed the experience."