La Vuelta a España Stage 5: Meersman 3rd in Bunch Sprint
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team put all riders on the front in the final kilometers heading toward a bunch sprint of 174.3km La Vuelta a España Stage 5 on Wednesday, after giving the maximum to also chase down a five rider breakaway.
The race came back together with 2.7km to go. Even UCI World TT Champion Tony Martin was pulling hard to put sprinter Gianni Meersman in the best position possible.
Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) accelerated slightly with 1.1km to go, and Argos-Shimano and Orica-GreenEDGE were in the best position to respond. However, despite a well timed sprint by Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) that won the stage, Meersman had plenty of power on the left side and was able to finish 3rd. Maximiliano Richeze (Lampre-Merida) was 2nd.
OPQS looks next to a 175km Stage 6 on Thursday.
"It was another hard finish today," Meersman said. "Once again the team perfectly put me in the best position for the sprint. We took our responsibility also to catch the breakaway. In the last five kilometers Martin, Pieter Serry and Zdenek Stybar piloted me, then at 600 meters to go I was on the wheel of Matthews. I waited for the right moment to go and when I decided to launch my sprint Matthew also went and I couldn't really pass him. The timing for the sprint was perfect, but he was just stronger than me today. Yesterday I finished in 4th place, today I was 3rd. I really would like to get a stage here for me and the team. We will see day by day and try to do our best."