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Binck Bank Tour. Stage 5. Michael Valgren in attack, 12th in GC after today’s stage

Astana rider Michael Valgren was one of the most aggressive riders at today’s stage 5 of the Binck Bank Tour around Sittard-Geleen (164,9 km). Valgren attacked from the bunch with more or less 16 km to go just before the Golden KM.

Two more riders joined him in this attack, so together they took all bonus seconds in the intermediate sprint.

- It was another nervous stage because of the weather and wind. We knew it will be a tough final with two laps and some climbing in the last part of the race. Before the last climb I had a good support from Oscar Gatto, who helped me to get a right position. I knew, we approach to the Golden KM, so I decided to attack to get some bonus seconds. In this kind of races every second counts. It was nice to be in front of the race, fighting for a good result, - explained Michael Valgren.

Later, some GC favorites caught Valgren’s group creating a leading group of 16 riders, which came to the finish KM.

- After my effort, I did not feel well, so in the last 10 km I did my best to stay in the leading group. I spent too much energy on the first climb and later during my attack, so it was not easy to sprint in the final. But, anyway, I was up there and could be happy with today’s stage. After the Tour de France I tried to recover well and in general I feel ok. In the first days I was sick a bit, but now I am getting better. So, I hope in the next two days I could fight for a strong result. I am focusing to reach a Top-10 here, so let’s see how it will be, - added Michael Valgren.

An attack of Dutch rider Lars Boom brought him stage 5 victory, while other riders of the leading group finished 3 seconds later with World champion Peter Sagan second and Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet third. Michael Valgren finished 16th.

- It was nice to see Michale Valgren performing well in a hard and fast final where only the strongest riders were presented. Michael picked up some bonus seconds, but the most important, he finished in the front group with 43 seconds ahead of the others. On the negative side, we had some bad luck today with 3 punctures and also Oscar Gatto with 15 km to go was blocked behind by a crash of some riders. I am quite sure, he could be up there in front together with Valgren. Anyway, we will keep on fighting in the next days, - said sports director Lars Michaelsen.

Today’s strong performance moved Michael up to 12th position in the general classification of the Binck Bank Tour, 38 seconds behind the new overall leader Lars Boom.

Stage 6 of the race will be held tomorrow: 196,9 km from Riemst to Houffalize.

Photo credit: © Bettiniphoto

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