Jakub Mareczko reclassified in ZLM Tour, Olav Kooij takes second stage victory

Olav Kooij has won the second stage of the ZLM Tour 2022. After a true fan spectacle over the Zeeland roads, the Dutchman crossed the line in second in Goes, but afterwards Jakub Mareczko was reclassified by the jury because of a maneuver with which he hindered Mick van Dijke.

On Thursday we stayed in Zeeland with the ZLM Tour 2022. The start of the ride was in Veere, after which it went via a detour – Middelburg was visited, among other things – to Goes. There was the finish after more than 180 kilometers. Fans or no fans? That was the question prior to the second stage of the ZLM Tour. In some parts of the course the wind seemed to be favorable for the drawing of echelons, although it was difficult to speak with two words before the start. At around 12.15 pm the official starting gun sounded and the riders started the first kilometers of this potential fan stage.

The early flight – photo: Cor Vos

After a lightning-fast opening phase, ten riders managed to jump away from the peloton, forming a strong leading group. The names: Jan-Willem van Schip (BEAT Cycling), Thijs de Lange (Metec-Solarwatt), Antti-Jussi Juntunen (ABLOC CT), Lucas Eriksson (Riwal), Raymond Kreder (Dutch selection), Jord Baak (VolkerWessels), Arne Peters (Allinq CT), Karl Patrick Lauk (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Alex Colman (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Enzo Decker (Bike Aid). In the peloton, the dirty work was done by the men of Jumbo-Visma, the team of leader Olav Kooij.

Wind quickly creates fans
The leading group of ten, including Van Schip, did not lead too long ahead of the pack. With still 120 kilometers to go, on the way to the Zeeland Bridge, the wind already got a grip on the course. The peloton broke into pieces by the crosswind and a front fan of about 25 riders managed to separate. That front fan came rapidly closer to the leading group in the following kilometers. At more than ninety kilometers from the finish, the front group was caught up by the front part of the peloton, so that we could speak of a first group of just under forty drivers.

The first fan, with Olav Kooij (right) in the yellow leader’s jersey – photo: Cor Vos

Jumbo-Visma was very well represented in this first group: we saw leader Kooij attentively at the head of the race. However, the fan danger had not yet passed and at about seventy kilometers from the finish the wind again did its job and the leading group was once again severely thinned. A first group of twenty riders remained and rode further and further away, while in the background there was a merger. Could the second group still return, or had the calf already drowned? With fifty kilometers to go, the difference between the first two groups was one and a half minutes.

The following names were present in the front fan: Michel Hessmann, Olav Kooij, Mick van Dijke, Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma), Elia Viviani, Jhonatan Narváez, Magnus Sheffield, Ben Turner (INEOS Grenadiers), Jakub Mareczko, Scott Thwaites (Alpecin-Fenix), Karl Patrick Lauk, Dimitri Peyskens, Ceriel Desal (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Arvid de Kleijn (Human Powered Health), Aaron Van Poucke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Tomas Kopecky (ABLOC CT), Arne Peters (Allinq CT), Jan-Willem van Schip (BEAT Cycling) and Thijs de Lange (Metec-Solarwatt).

Leading group has to wait for the train
The front runners rumbled at a fast pace to the second intermediate sprint of the day, where Viviani turned out to be faster than Kooij and Van Poucke. The lead of the front group continued to fluctuate around one and a half minutes. The second echelon (of about fifty riders) seemed to be fighting a hopeless battle, but at thirty kilometers from the finish there was suddenly a new turn. The front runners were held up by a train that passed, so that the lead melted like snow in the sun. Striking: the chasing peloton was allowed to continue and so the difference was suddenly reduced by about a minute.

The second group, led by Riwal and Team DSM, came out of nowhere to within 25 seconds of the first fan. In other words, the gap seemed to be bridgeable again, but the cooperation in the first group remained excellent and so the front runners managed to break out again. Group two lost ground again and with fifteen kilometers to go it was clear that the winner was in the first group. Jumbo-Visma, however, was not yet satisfied with the composition of the first group and tried to put things aside again with twelve kilometers to go. This time it paid little.

photo: Cor Vos

Declassification for Mareczko, Kooij ‘profits’
And so we went with about twenty riders to the finish in Goes, where a sprint had to decide between winning and losing. Jumbo-Visma took the lead in the penultimate kilometer, hoping to give Kooij an ideal lead-out. However, the yellow-black formation was surprised in the last kilometer by an action by Narváez, with his sprint leader Viviani in the wheel, so that Jumbo-Visma’s lead-out fell into the water. INEOS Grenadiers seemed to pilot Viviani perfectly in the last hundreds of meters, but Mareczko was unable to hold onto the victory with a few powerful pedal strokes.

After the finish we saw an altercation between Mareczko and Mick van Dijke, who apparently wasn’t too happy with the Italian’s behavior in the sprint. The Alpecin-Fenix ​​sprinter made a maneuver in the last kilometer with which he hindered Van Dijke. The jury therefore decided, well after the finish, to downgrade Mareczko. Olav Kooij takes advantage and wins the stage. It is Kooij’s second consecutive stage win in the ZLM Tour, after he was also the fastest in the opening stage on Wednesday.