Tom Boonen (OPQ) beat André Greipel (LTB) by a second to take the World Ports Classic after the Rabobank Cycling Team propelled Theo Bos to the stage win in the streets of Rotterdam.
A tense first hour
Stage 2 of the World Ports Classic took the bunch from Antwerp to Rotterdam, with a 163 km course featuring two intermediate sprints and as many cobbled sectors. Blue skies awaited the 132 riders on the start line for the neutralised start at 11:35 am and the start proper at 12 pm.
Attacks came thick and fast during the first hour, pushing the average speed to 50 km/h. The top three riders in the general classification went head-to-head at the first sprint in Brecht, with Germany’s André Greipel (LTB) prevailing over Boonen (OPQ) and Kristoff (KAT).
A three-man breakaway...
A trio composed of Westra (VCD), Marycz (STB) and Claeys (LAN) managed to sneak away from the pack after some 40 kilometres. By the time they reached the first cobbled sector, 650 metres long and 63 kilometres into the stage, their gap on the peloton had grown to 3′50″. The bunch never let the threesome at the front of the race get too far away and their margin at the end of the second cobbled sector was 2′45″, eventually peaking at 4′30″.
Marycz (STB) edged out Claeys (LAN) and Westra (VCD) to take the second sprint in Heijningen, and the peloton, 2′20″ back, began to chase the leading trio in earnest.
...which does not stick
The breakaway was gobbled up by the bunch seven kilometres from the finish and the race got tense as the Rabobank Cycling Team and the BMC Racing Team drove the bunch and the Argos-Shimano and Lotto-Belisol crews waited until the last kilometre to hit the front. It all came down to a mass sprint featuring the main favourites. It was Theo Bos (RAB) who conquered Rotterdam, with Greipel (LTB), Boonen (OPQ) and Kristoff (KAT) close behind.
Thus, Tom Boonen (OPQ) beats André Greipel (LTB) by a second to take the inaugural edition of the World Ports Classic, while Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (KAT) finishes as the best young rider in the race and third overall. Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator claims the team classification.