Ster ZLM Toer Stage 2: Keisse, Meersman on the Attack, Lampaert Top 5
Etixx - Quick-Step riders Gianni Meersman and Iljo Keisse were in a seven-rider escape group, and eventually in a three-rider selection, that was caught with 5km left to race at the 190.5km Ster ZLM Toer Jan van Heeswijk Stage 2 on Friday in Buchten.
The stage was one of two featuring the climbs of the Ardennes, but with a flat final kilometers that left a bunch sprint as a strong possibility.
With 30km remaining the gap was down to a minute and 25 seconds. Meersman and Keisse tried an attack earlier, but had been brought back. Keisse also had to return to the group earlier in the race after a mechanical. Meersman, Keisse, and Roy Curvers (Giant-Alpecin) went ahead of their breakmates heading into the finale, but held only a 15" advantage before getting caught. Only one other rider was able to get a gap before he was also brought back by the peloton.
Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) won the mass sprint. Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo) was 2nd, and Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise) finished 3rd. Yves Lampaert finished 4th, and Nikolas Maes was 14th.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to 186.7km Stage 3 on Saturday.