Bizarre win Staune-Mittet in opening stage Ronde de L’Isard after crash teammate Van Belle

Bizarre win Staune-Mittet in opening stage Ronde de L’Isard after crash teammate Van Belle

Johannes Staune-Mittet has won the first stage of the Ronde de L’Isard. After his teammate Loe van Belle suffered a severe crash in the final kilometres of the opening stage, the Norwegian rider for the Jumbo-Visma Development Team crossed the finish line alone. Van Belle was on his way to victory and Staune-Mittet knew no better than that he had finished second behind his teammate.

Early in the stage, Staune-Mittet, Van Belle, and Lars Boven were in the breakaway. Van Belle appeared to be on his way to victory for a while. He attacked in the last 20 kilometres and maintained his lead until the final kilometres. In a descent, however, he missed a turn and ended up in a ditch.

Staune-Mittet rode clear of the pursuers in the closing kilometres and, to his astonishment, won the stage.

“We should be especially proud of how we rode as a team”, the young Norwegian said. “We were in a strong breakaway with three other riders, and it quickly became apparent that we would ride for the stage win.”

"Loe crashed hard, but nobody noticed."

Sports director Sierk Jan de Haan

Van Belle received compliments from the stage winner. “He rode steadily and launched a perfect attack. Unfortunately, he crashed just before the finish when I thought he would win. It would be unfair to label myself the winner when he would be the deserved one. But it’s nice to preserve the success within the squad. I hope Loe’s injuries from the crash are not severe.”

Sports director Sierk Jan de Haan: “Loe crashed hard, but nobody noticed. He crossed the finish line with quite a few injuries. He took a big hit.” The extent of the injuries is being assessed at the hospital.

In addition to Staune-Mittet being the first leader of the French stage race, Van Belle seized the mountain jersey. Staune-Mittet’s win is the seventh of the season for the Jumbo-Visma Development Team.

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