After the first stage André Greipel has also won the second one in the Tour of Belgium. In Ninove he won a close sprint before 19-year-old Danny Van Poppel and Belgian champion Tom Boonen. The second stage left around 11:30 in Knokke-Heist to the Flemish Ardennes, both the Bosberg and Congoberg had to be climbed twice. After about 35 kilometers a breakaway of five was formed, with rouleur Mikhail Ignatyev. The front group never had more than five minutes lead. Lotto Belisol controlled the peloton.
Echelons were formed in the pouring rain with 33 kilometers left to go. Lotto Belisol was strongly represented in the first group, with leaders André Greipel and Jürgen Roelandts among them. At the second passage on the top of the Bosberg Ignatyev, the last escapee, was caught. World champion Philippe Gilbert jumped away on the Congoberg with Francesco Gavazzi and Niki Terpstra. Then it was twelve kilometers to Meerbeke, where the Tour of Flanders finished until 2011. The cooperation wasn’t great in the front group. Lotto Belisol pulled everything together and 700 meters before the finish the three were reeled in. André Greipel sprinted to the second victory in a row and stays leader.
André Greipel: “Two out of two is of course a good result. The guys did an awesome job, especially in the chase on those last three escapees. In the sprint I couldn’t shift my gear to eleven, so I couldn’t go full from the start. Still I could come out. The weather wasn’t good today, which didn’t make the job any easier, but everyone did their best to defend my leader’s jersey.”
“Tomorrow in the time trial it’s only following the course from start to finish. With that time trial and the stages this weekend it won’t be evident for me to defend the jersey. The next days we’ll look more to other guys in the team, depending on who’s performing best in the time trial.”