After yesterday's strong performance by Leopard Pro Cycling, today the team again rode a very active race. After Gaëtan Pons secured himself the KOM jersey from the breakaway, Szymon Rekita showed a pleasant style of racing, but just missed out of the decisive moves.
"I am ready to defend the jersey in the next days."
By being the first attacker of the day, Gaëtan Pons meant business. The Luxembourger got clear and was joined by three other riders - Etienne van Empel (Roompot), ex-Leopard rider John Mandrysch (Dauner) and Patrick Haller (Heizomat) - and the group quickly rode away from the bunch, gathering a bonus of maximum five minutes. In the bunch, Quick Step, BORA-hansgrohe and Bahrain-Merida took control as they tried to deliver their leaders in a perfect position for the difficult final with five climbs, of which four were categorized. After a strong display of power by Leopard's Gaëtan Pons - he rounded the first two climbs in first - the peloton picked up the pace even more and reeled the breakaway in quite early.
At this moment, Leopard Pro Cycling's Szymon Rekita had already tried to bridge to the front and was later involved in more attacks. With twelve kilometers to go, all came back together just before the decisive move was made. Unfortunately, Rekita just lost contact and had to chase, coming close to the finish line in Trier. Here, Maximilian Schachmann (Quick Step) turned out to be the strongest of a quartet of riders, 32 seconds before Szymon Rekita rolled in at the 23rd position. Because of his great attacks on the first two climbs of the day, Gaëtan Pons was invited to the podium as he took the KOM jersey, which he will defend in the coming days.
Gaëtan Pons: "Yesterday was a hard day for me as I didn't have good legs. Therefore I was a bit nervous before the start, but the legs reacted well and I immediately felt strong. I was the first to attack and I went clear with three other guys. In our group, the cooperation was good and we rode to a maximum lead of five minutes. When we arrived at the first climb, I joined in the attacks and when I looked behind nobody was following, so I just went all the way. At the second KOM it was pretty much the same story as I attacked and arrived alone at the top, taking the points. After the descent I heard that we only had thirty seconds to the bunch, so it was not possible to reach the next KOM as well. At this point, Szymon was in the counter-attack, so I dropped from the front and tried to help him. Afterwards my day was over and I finished in the gruppetto. I am now leader of the KOM classification, I feel confident and I am ready to defend the jersey in the next days. I am happy that I can represent Leopard and Luxembourg in such way, the team is really confident to have more good results in the coming days."
Result Stage 2
23. Szymon Rekita (POL) + 0'23"
65. Alexander Krieger (GER) + 4'28"
94. Jan Brockhoff (GER) + 10'41"
99. Gaëtan Pons (LUX) + 14'04"
102. Mario Spengler (SUI) + 14'04"
106. Jens Reynders (BEL) + 14'04"
General Classification after Stage 2
31. Szymon Rekita (POL) + 0'42"
58. Alexander Krieger (GER) + 4'38"
94. Jan Brockhoff (GER) + 10'51"
99. Jens Reynders (BEL) + 14'11"
104. Mario Spengler (SUI) + 14'14"
105. Gaëtan Pons (LUX) + 14'14"