Philippe Gilbert found a finish that suited his punchy characteristics perfectly on stage 2 of the Tour of Luxembourg, and duly delivered to take his second victory of the 2016 season.
The 162.8km stage from Rosport to Schifflange culminated with the short climb of the Col de Schifflange, featuring gradients of almost 13 per cent. Gilbert, who has a rich history in the Ardennes Classics and punchy one-day races, surged up to take earn BMC’s second victory in three stages, just a couple of days after revealing he will be leaving the American team at the end of the season.
Maurits Lammertink (Roompot Oranje Peloton), who was second behind BMC’s Jempy Drucker in the opening prologue, was second again – by a very narrow margin – but this time enjoyed some reward in pulling on the leader’s jersey. The bonus seconds he collected on the line were enough to lift him above Drucker in the overall standings after the leader crashed ahead of the final climb.
Alex Kirsch of Stolting Service Group finished third, a couple of bike lengths back.
The stage featured an early breakaway of seven riders, consisting of Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo), Aksel Nömmela, Carmelo Foti (Leopard), Pontus Kastemyr (Differdange-Losch), Martin Mortensen (ONE Pro), and – on the hunt for KOM points – Etienne van Empel (Roompot) andThomas Deruette (Wallonie Bruxelles).
Halfway through the race it was down to Périchon, Mortensen, and Kastemry, and they were joined by Tim Kerkhofen (Roompot), who was the last to be caught as the peloton made no mistake in bringing the escapees back ahead of the explosive final climb.
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