Meersman sprints to third in Burgos opener
The result in Melgar de Fernamental came as indication of the Belgian's strong condition and consistency.
Stage 1 of Vuelta a Burgos was projected to end up in a bunch sprint, so it came as no surprise that the main break of the day didn't got too much space, managing to take its advantage on the road to just four minutes. Etixx – Quick-Step, with an incredible and relentless Maxime Bouet at the front, Movistar and Orica-BikeExchange were in control at all times and reeled in the seven – Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Julen Irizar (Euskadi), Jacques Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Nick Schultz (Orica-BikeExchange), Pablo Torres (Burgos), Martijn Tusveld (Giant-Alpecin) and Dries Van Gestel (Topsport Vlaanderen) – with less than 15 kilometers to go.
Coming off the Tour de Wallonie, where he finished second in the overall standings, 30-year-old Gianni Meersman got again in the mix for the win, after being piloted by his Etixx – Quick-Step teammate Yves Lampaert. The Belgian launched his sprint with around 300 meters left, at the same time as Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky) and Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) did, and concluded stage 1 (Sasamon – Melgar de Fernamental, 158 km) in third position, notching up his fourth podium in the space of just one week.
"It was very hectic today in the last 15 kilometers and we tried to stay in the upper part of the pack. With 700 meters to go, Yves brought me at the front and we got to enter first and second in the corner that came in the final 400 meters. Unfortunately, we were in the wind, and I lost a little bit there, so I had to do a long sprint. Still, to finish third on the opening day is a solid result and comes as confirmation of my good legs. It wouldn't have been possible without the help of the guys, who worked really hard for me and to whom I must thank", said Gianni, who will have two more opportunities to go for victory in Vuelta a Burgos, on stages 3 and 4.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele