The first stage in the Eneco Tour ended in a sprint. André Greipel, who won a stage in the Tour last month, was the fastest. Quick Step rode for Gerald Ciolek, but the German was unable to do better than 9th.
Today's 192 kilometer stage took the peloton from Oosterhout to Sint Willebrord. “And the average speed was 45 kilometers per hour! It was a stressful day. Lots of wind, narrow roads, roundabouts and a lot of speed bumps. There were several crashes due to all this. Luckily they weren't too bad, with the exception of the one near the finish. That didn't look good.”
A group of about six riders, including teammate Matteo Trentin, rode in the break all day and had a maximum advantage of more than 10 minutes. The peloton caught the leaders in the last 10 kilometers and the stage ended in a sprint. The number of riders contesting the stage win was small because of the crash in the last kilometer that Zdenek mentioned earlier.
“I don't feel too bad, but I can tell that I haven't raced in awhile. My last race was the Czech championships in late June. The fans around Essen helped me today with their support and I'm very thankful for that!”