Photo Credit: GFR/Marcel Hilger
After Wednesday’s opening prologue, the opening road stage at the Deine Tour saw a punchy finish circuit raced hard where Kevin Vermaerke followed attacks and took a solid fourth place.
Rolling out from Sankt Wendel it was a steady start to proceedings with a five rider break going clear quickly and gaining an advantage of roughly six minutes. The peloton was always in control though and they slowly brought back those ahead, before the pace was increased dramatically inside the last 60 kilometres on the climbs and riders were dropped from the peloton. With the early attackers caught, the team rode superbly to bring Kevin Vermaerke, Frank van den Broek and Marius Mayrhofer into position for the local circuit where they would take on the Ellerberg ascent twice.
Over the first ascent the pace remained high but no group was able to get away and a showdown was set for the final ascent. With the extra incentive of bonus seconds at the top, an infernal tempo was set from the bottom and a trio managed to escape over the top, while Vermaerke formed part of a chasing trio. Heading into the last five kilometres the front trio were eight seconds ahead of Vermaerke’s group, with the reduced peloton a further ten seconds back. Despite their best efforts and an all-out chase, the combination of the downhill to the line and the front group cooperating well meant that Vermaerke sprinted to a strong fourth place, just three seconds behind the leaders. Nonetheless, it’s a result which sees the Team dsm-firmenich rider move up to eighth on GC ahead of tomorrow’s hill-top finish.