Written by Simon de Montfort of
Gazet van Antwerpen - TvA stage 2
Stage 2 of TvA from Hoogstraten to Arendonk always brings changes to the GC and clearly shows who is the main contender for the title. 11 times in the history of the tour the winner of this king stage was able to hold on to the lead and win the general classification. This time it was the famous Gale Reason who outrunned his rivals in the finishing sprint and took the stage win. The 35yo winner of last year's edition looks now to be in perfect place to defend the title.
We have managed to catch up with him post the stage and here is what he told us.
- Gale, big win today, congratulations! Tell us how did the stage evolve for you and how do you feel about the win. Did you expect it before
- I didn't expect to make such a great result today. I am overly happy and very surprised with the win. The guys did an unbelievable job, keeping me where I was suppose to be. We were a little bit disappointed with the prologue performance, but the guys surely took revenge today tearing it apart. I was lucky with some of the big names, for some reasons, not being in the finale. This is my first stagewin in 22 raced stages. My team haven't won a stage in this tour neither in 42 raced stages. And then we end up winning King stage like this. So in all ways, this is a really big day. I couldn't be more happy!
- I guess the plan is now to hold on to the lead till the very end to repeat the last year's success, right? Who do you see as your biggest rival?
- Last season I won the tour without winning a stage. That being said my ambitions coming to this tour was a top 9 in the GC as I am not getting younger. I don't think I am the
favorite for the GC win now. But I have to upgrade my ambitions and go for the podium, though. As you can see it was a close stage and many good guys in topform aren't far behind. Marjan Mrak seems incredibly strong. Tarjei Thorvaldsen seems in great shape winning the Roubaix Classic. He has strong support as well. Not to mention last years runner up Orest Czechowski, his team is unbelievably strong. .On the other hand both Lucas Louden, Márcio Fialho, Vuong Dúc The among other great riders lost some time today. Which surprises me. I don't count them out yet, since they have so much class.
But I have to admit it looks good for our team, after this first cobble stage. Though one bad day can ruin it all, and I have no idea if my form is good enough, to be consistent in the two last stages. I guess we'll take it day by day. In the end coming out with a 9h consecutive top9 in the GC, will be a really big achievement for me.
- Thanks Gale and once again congrats on that win!