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by Shane Stokes
June 2, 2017
In today’s edition of the Daily News Digest: Drucker takes home soil victory on stage 1 of Skoda Tour of Luxembourg, grabs race lead; Froome says Giro d’Italia ride means Quintana is not a major rival for Tour; Bahrain-Merida bikes stolen prior to Hammer Series race; Chaves returning to racing at Critérium du Dauphiné, Yates to lead Orica-Scott team; Dowset on Hammer Series: ‘Tactically, everything we know becomes secondary. This is new territory’; Hayman: ‘Teams are going to have to be thinking on their feet’; Team Sky unveils new kit for 2017 Tour de France; Gaviria and the other best stage-winning Grand Tour debuts; Fortuneo – Vital Concept sponsors set to split prior to Tour de France; Young British time triallist Joe Guy killed in collision with van; Video: Robbie McEwen previews the inaugural Hammer Series race; Video: Inside HED Cycling; Video: Ten – The BC Bike Race Movie; Video: Tour Series 2017 – Round 9, Durham
After netting third in the opening prologue of the race on Wednesday, Jempy Drucker grabbed the race lead from Damien Gaudin’s (Armee de Terre) on Thursday. The BMC Racing Team rider won the sprint to the line in Bascharage, beating Timothy Dupont (Veranda’s Willems Crelan), Aksel Nommela (Leopard Pro Cycling) plus the rest of the peloton.
“This feels really good,” the Luxembourg rider said. “I’m working for the team a lot of the time and I don’t have many chances like this. So, if I get the opportunity, I always try to win. But it’s not always easy. I’m a sprinter, and there are a lot of strong guys, and I’m not always as fast as the likes of [Marcel] Kittel.”
The 172 kilometre stage was marked by a long-range breakaway of three riders. These built a gap of over five minutes but Gaudin’s Armee de Terre squad whittled that down to just over two minutes. The BMC Racing Team of Drucker and Wednesday’s runner-up Greg Van Avermaet then started helping out and the breakaway was hauled back inside the final ten kilometres.
Drucker was then helped by his teammates. “Most of the time I don’t have a specific sprint train, but today the guys were perfect,” he said. “I had Greg as my main lead-out man and Loïc [Vliegen] setting the pace in the last kilometre. But, everyone did a great job in the final. We came in with a plan to win this stage today so, it is perfect that it worked out.”
He is now six seconds clear of Gaudin, with Van Avermaet a further second back in third overall. The race continues Friday with a tougher 178.4 kilometre race from Steinfort to Walferdange. Drucker has suggested that Van Avermeat is the team’s candidate for the final general classification.