It was a hard-fought battle to make the breakaway with the peloton, which was already setting a fast tempo, covering 80 kilometers, of the 191.6-kilometer course, before the day’s four-rider breakaway, which was able to hold onto its lead until just four kilometers to go, went clear.
Schär was part of one of the earlier moves but, despite a strong effort from the Swiss rider, the group was pulled back and after that, CCC Team stuck together in the first part of the main bunch, which proved to be important when wind threatened to split the field.
On the last of three, 15.1-kilometer laps around Venray, the gap was sitting at around the 30-second mark and the previously predicted bunch sprint looked inevitable with all of the sprinters’ teams making sure they were represented at the front of the peloton.
A high-speed race only got faster in the closing kilometers with gaps opening up on the finishing straight as Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) took the win and Mareczko finished in the top 15 as part of the front group alongside Van Avermaet, who continues to sit eighth overall, 49 seconds behind Tim Wellens (Lotto – Soudal)
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“We were really going for it at the beginning of the stage. A lot of teams were looking to get a rider in the move because really this was the final opportunity for some teams with the TT tomorrow and Sunday’s Classic stage. I was trying a lot at the start and at one point, I made it into a move but two of the four guys were not willing to pull and so, it was just the wrong composition.”
“I’m feeling okay at this race. It is not always easy to really fight here after the Tour de France especially when we are really being pushed to our limits on a parcours that, in my opinion, has been unacceptable at times.”
“It was a really fast stage today right from the start but, as a team, we managed it well and we were always in the first half of the peloton. On the local laps, we were staying up at the front and the guys were helping me stay out of trouble before I started to jump on the wheels of some of the other sprinters. In the end, it was another hectic sprint but, I was a little too far back when it started so, it was unfortunately not the best result but as a team we did what we could.”
Greg Van Avermaet:
“I think it was a relatively easy day for us as a team. It was a sprinters’ stage and a very fast one at the beginning with a hard fight to get into the breakaway. In the final, we tried to get Mareczko into as good a position as possible and I saw he was up there. We maybe timed it a bit early but it is not easy in a sprint like this. The most important thing for me was that I didn’t lose any time and now, heading to the time trial tomorrow, I hope I can do a good performance before Sunday’s final stage.”
Binck Bank Tour
Stage 5: Riemst > Venray (191.4km)
Top 3: 1. Álvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) 2. Sam Bennett (BORA – hansgrohe) 3. Edward Theuns (Trek – Segafredo)
CCC Team Top 3: TBC