After the first stage André Greipel has also won the second one in the Tour of Belgium. In Ninove he won a close sprint before 19-year-old Danny Van Poppel and Belgian champion Tom Boonen.
André Greipel: "It was a victory from the text book. The final was hectic with many turns, but we were well organized and could stay together. The guys perfectly prepared the sprint."
Francis De Greef: "It was a hectic start, after a long battle I could take off. The understanding in the front group wasn't great, according to me the group was too big."
André Greipel: "It's important to ride here in the Tour of Belgium with the guys from my train. In the first stage I aim for the victory."
Gaëtan Bille: "This fifth place is a good result, unfortunately I couldn't win the youth classification, that would have been good for the team."
After the first stage André Greipel has also won the second one in the Tour of Belgium. In Ninove he won a close sprint before 19-year-old Danny Van Poppel and Belgian champion Tom Boonen. The second stage left around 11:30 in Knokke-Heist to the Flemish Ardennes, both the Bosberg and Congoberg had to be climbed twice. After about 35 kilometers a breakaway of five was formed, with rouleur Mikhail Ignatyev. The front group never had more than five minutes lead. Lotto Belisol controlled the peloton.
Echelons were formed in the pouring rain with 33 kilometers left to go. Lotto Belisol was strongly represented in the first group, with leaders André Greipel and Jürgen Roelandts among them. At the second passage on the top of the Bosberg Ignatyev, the last escapee, was caught. World champion Philippe Gilbert jumped away on the Congoberg with Francesco Gavazzi and Niki Terpstra. Then it was twelve kilometers to Meerbeke, where the Tour of Flanders finished until 2011. The cooperation wasn't great in the front group. Lotto Belisol pulled everything together and 700 meters before the finish the three were reeled in. André Greipel sprinted to the second victory in a row and stays leader.
André Greipel: "Two out of two is of course a good result. The guys did an awesome job, especially in the chase on those last three escapees. In the sprint I couldn't shift my gear to eleven, so I couldn't go full from the start. Still I could come out. The weather wasn't good today, which didn't make the job any easier, but everyone did their best to defend my leader's jersey."
"Tomorrow in the time trial it's only following the course from start to finish. With that time trial and the stages this weekend it won't be evident for me to defend the jersey. The next days we'll look more to other guys in the team, depending on who's performing best in the time trial."
The Tour of Belgium started today with a flat stage between Lochristi and Knokke-Heist. A small detour was made in the Netherlands. Soon four Belgian riders set up a breakaway: Olivier Chevalier, Laurens De Vreese, Dieter Uyttersprot and Alphonse Vermote. They got a lead of more than four minutes. In the peloton Lotto Belisol took command, in function of leader André Greipel. The team kept the gap under constant control. Chevalier and De Vreese stayed in front the longest, till 26 kilometers before the finish.
Jürgen Roelandts accelerated 14 kilometers from the end, just before the Synergie Supersprint. He picked up 24 points and three seconds, a good cause with the aim of a good classification. Jos Van Emden and Thijs Al took off in the final kilometers, but they couldn't stay away. With two kilometers to go the Lotto Belisol train moved up to the front and led André Greipel to the victory. He was stronger than Belgian champion Tom Boonen and Ramon Sinkeldam. Tomorrow Greipel will start in the leader's jersey. Roelandts is now fourth in the GC at seven seconds.
André Greipel: "It was a victory from the text book. The final was hectic with many turns, but we were well organized and could stay together. The guys perfectly prepared the sprint. My gear was a bit too big, but I finished it off. I am very happy with this win. We work together very well, other riders search us in the way up to the sprint because we have such an excellent train."
"We are racing together again for the first time since Tirreno-Adriatico. From now on it's one line to the Tour de France via the Tour of Zeeland Seaports, Berlin and the ZLM Tour. We now have to get confidence and sharpen the automatisms. Tomorrow's stage suits Jürgen Roelandts very well, but it will also be difficult to get rid of me on the climbs."
Francis De Greef has attacked today in stage 16 of the Giro. The start was given in Valloire in France and finished on Italian soil in Ivrea. Just like Sunday the riders climbed Mont Cenis, but now from the other side. On this climb of first category a front group of 22 riders was formed. This happened in a few attempts. A group of sixteen was joined by four and later two riders. Cisse was part of the last duo.
Unfortunately this escape didn't make it to the finish. At the start of the final climb, with top at 17,5 kilometers from the finish, the escapees were almost all caught, De Greef as well. The rest was reeled in on the climb. The stage was won by Benat intxausti who was the best in a sprint of three. Francis De Greef has climbed two places in GC and is now 21st.
Francis De Greef: "It was a hectic start, after a long battle I could take off. The understanding in the front group wasn't great, according to me the group was too big. Some wanted to spare themselves and others didn't want to go through with those riders, so there wasn't any cooperation. When Katusha and RadioShack started to control the chase they rode à bloc and we didn't stand a chance. At sixty kilometers from the end there were already some attacks and then the cooperation was completely over. You can't react on all attacks and eventually four riders were gone, we were caught about five kilometers from the last climb."
"Then I had to recover for a moment, after 180 kilometers in the escape. Afterwards I could control the damage. It was a gamble to join the escape, but it's possible you stay away and you take five minutes. If I hadn't joined it I would have been less tired in the final and I would have finished two minutes earlier. But I made the best out of it. We have to wait what will happen with the mountain stages, depending on the weather the course might be changed. I hope not, I prefer a tough race with climbing from start to finish."
Koningshooikt - Van Hool nv, independent constructor of buses, coaches and commercial vehicles, supplies on Friday 17th of May an exceptional version of its coach model TX16 Acron to G&V Energy Group that, as a co-sponsor of the Lotto Belisol cycling team, will offer it as new team bus to the Lotto Belisol team. The completely equipped bus offers all facilities to bring the riders like Jurgen Van den Broeck, Jürgen Roelandts, Jelle Vanendert, André Greipel,... and the staff to the races in ideal conditions.
The Lotto Belisol team bus will be used to transport and support the cycling team and staff in an optimal way in the races which they take part in. That's why this is a made-to-measure version of the TX16 Acron. It offers nine large and comfortable seats for riders and staff and has all the necessary facilities: showers, toilet, a complete kitchen with refrigerator, washing machine and dryer, all modern multimedia and of course a large space to store the bikes. At the outside of the bus there is an extending porch, with info screen. The bus is equipped with a separate power group and satellite reception.
Team manager Marc Sergeant of Lotto Belisol is over the moon with the new team bus: "In contemporary professional cycling at WorldTour level a perfect surrounding is of the utmost importance. A well equipped team bus is indispensable. The Lotto Belisol riders use the team bus daily, as a means of transport, but also to shower, to relax or for team meetings. That Lotto Belisol can use this treasure is a brilliant example of a strong Belgian cooperation between constructor Van Hool, G&V Energy Group as an investor and partner and our team, this pleases me a lot. This bus is good for the image of the team and sponsors."
The team bus will be used for the first time in the Tour of Belgium, which takes place from Wednesday 22nd of May 2013 until Sunday 26th of May 2013. In the off-season the team bus will be also used for promotion actions that will be held by G&V Energy Group.
Apart from big series constructor Van Hool also has a lot of experience with the building and equipment of buses and coaches made-to-measure for specific purposes. Examples are the team buses of top football teams like Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool of the English Premier League, the Suzuki Motorcross Team, the mobile commando base for the fire brigade of Antwerp, television-captation cars, library buses and several tour buses for pop artists.
Van Hool is a Belgian independent constructor of buses, coaches and commercial vehicles. The company, founded in 1947, is located in Koningshooikt (Belgium). The biggest part of the production is for Europe and the US. Van Hool has more than 4000 employees worldwide of which most work in the branches in Koningshooikt and Bree. www.vanhool.be.
G&V Energy Group is an independent Belgium petrol company on the market of petrol stations. G&V Energy Group exploits today through G&V Service Stations about sixty retail stations (mainly automatic petrol stations) and about twenty truck stations at important points of entry on the road and harbours in Belgium. G&V Energy Group has its home base in Kuurne, next to Kortrijk, and has got a branch in the harbour of Roeselare. The gigantic storage capacities in the harbour of Roeselare - good for a buffer of 270 million liters - are apart from the operational stock also for more strategic storage for the Belgian government (apetra). Since 2013 G&V Energy Group is co-sponsor of the Lotto Belisol team. www.g-v.be.
Lotto Belisol is a Belgian WorldTour cycling team with the ambition to play a leading role in international cycling. Through the development of a professional, scientifically founded structure within a long-term vision our riders get the chance to pursue their goals and dreams. Lotto Belisol wants to give specific attention to the development of talent through the U23 team and the ladies team. Thanks to the popularity of cycling our sponsors and fans can be part of cycling on the highest level. www.lottobelisol.be
Yesterday and today the finishing touch is being added to the new Lotto Belisol team bus: the stickers. For that the team entered into a partnership last year with the young Belgian company Printhings with its home base in Temse, East-Flanders. Printhings was founded in 2011 and this partnership immediately was a good investment for its reputation. This company has put stickers on the whole fleet of the team. They also took care of the vehicles of the ladies' and U23 team.
The team bus will be delivered this Friday and will be used for the first time during the Tour of Belgium, which starts Wednesday 22nd of May. Sjef De Peijper, manager at Printhings, tells us about this final phase in the building of the new Lotto Belisol bus.
Sjef De Peijper, manager at Printhings: "The team gives us the graphics, designed on a technical drawing of the vehicle. This simulation gives each party a nice idea of the overall picture. Then the simulation has to be severely controlled on technical and esthetical problems. We look if the logos aren't too close to the edges or if open doors hide certain logos. Technically it's important to know the features of the used foil. When everything is okay for us, the design is sent to the team and sponsors for approval. After they agree we start printing."
"Last week we printed the whole bus, divided in different panels. Some panels were up to fifteen meters long. When you print such long panels of course nothing may go wrong. That's why we also handle our machines with lots of care to deliver the best quality as possible."
"For this project we work with high-quality ‘Car Wrap foil' of our partner 3M. This makes it possible to perfectly put the foil on difficult shapes. We let the printed foil dry for 24 hours and then we laminate it with a 3M laminate for protection. This combination of high-quality materials makes sure that we can guarantee the colors will keep and it is durable. On the windows we work with a special ‘One Way Vision' foil. That way the riders can look from the inside to the outside while the design continues on the outside. All this foil has been cut and sorted, so Tuesday and Wednesday four specialists can put on all the foil on the bus."
"Our engagement with Lotto Belisol dates from last year, just after our foundation in 2011. As a young company we decided to invest in a big cycling team like Lotto Belisol to increase our reputation, that has turned out to be a good choice. This cooperation is nice for our image and of course it gives us other opportunities."
On Saturday 1st of June you can participate for the second year in a row in the Belisolpijl! This in the presence of some of our riders and staff, among them André Greipel. Three tour rides are offered (25km, 75km and 105km) with start in Roeselare. You can start the family tour ride of 25 kilometers between 10h and 11h30, the other two routes between 7h30 and 10h. During the two longest rides there will be a feed zone. Participating costs five euros, this is completely for vzw OK, Ontspanning & Ontmoeting Kanker. This organizations is now restoring a building in which they want to invite people with cancer and those who take care of them.
On the 1st of June there will also be a tombola, of which the profits will also go to vzw OK, Ontspanning & Ontmoeting Kanker. You can win a Ridley race bike, Lazer glasses and helmets and several other prizes. We advise you to register beforehand for the Belisolpijl, because the number of participants is limited. Those who register beforehand get a goodie bag, with a Belisol bidon and a drink voucher among it. Also the kids are welcome.
Register immediately for this event, which is insured by our partner Callant Verzekeringen, which is known for its bike omnium. So go to http://www.belisolpijl.be/2013/schrijf-je-nu-in and register now!