Bert de Backer 13th in stage 2 of Etoile de Bessèges
The second stage of the Etoile de Bessèges ended in victory for Bryan Coquard (Europcar), ahead of stage 1 winner Michael van Staeyen (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Baptiste Planckaert (Crelan-Euphony). Michael van Staeyen keeps the lead in the general classification. Bert de Backer finished 13th;
he is also the first Team Argos-Shimano rider in the GC, in 11th place.
The stage, raced over 157.3 km from Nimes to Les Fumades, was animated by an early breakaway of three riders, Thomas Vaubouzeix, Jimmy Engoulvent and Alphonse Vermote. The trio reached a lead of 6 minutes. In the last four laps the peloton caught the break and the teams prepared themselves for a bunch sprint.
“We saw an aggressive team that was eager to battle – Tom and Georg positioned Bert in the front of the peloton in the last few kilometers. He came through the last corner in third position but couldn’t hold this place and in the end finished 13th. The team spirit is great and everybody is recovering well. The next few days will be hillier, and we expect that this will split the peloton into multiple groups. I am convinced that the boys are ready for the hills,” said sports director Cees-Jan van der Zweep.
Stage 2 results:
1. Bryan Coquard (Europcar)
2. Michael Van Staeyen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
3. Baptiste Planckaert (Crelan-Euphony)
4. Stefan van Dijk (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
5. Jonas Van Genechten (Lotto-Belisol)
General classification after stage 2:
1. Michael Van Staeyen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) 7:09:252.
2. Frédérique Robert (Lotto-Belisol) 0:00:063.
3. Justin Jules (La Pomme-Marseille) 0:00:10
11. Bert de Backer (Team Argos-Shimano)