Stefan Bissegger took stage victory and the overall lead in the in a very impressive time trial on the second day of the Benelux Tour 2021.
The EF Education-Nippo first year pro rider put an impressive gap into the rest of his rivals over the 11.1km course around Lelystad with the Swiss rider putting 15 seconds into second place on the day, Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma).
Fellow Swiss rider and European champion, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) was at 19 seconds behind Bissegger.
Bissegger now takes over the general classification lead from stage one winner, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) and leads Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) and Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) by 19 seconds going into the third day of racing.
Merlier finished a minute down on Bissegger in 53rd place on the same time as four others including British rider, Charlie Quarterman (Trek-Segafredo).
Former winner of the race, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) sits in seventh at 36 seconds with another former winner Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) staying in touch at 45 seconds in 11th place.
One rider who was expected to do far better on the day was Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) who is reported to be suffering from intestinal problems. The Belgian rider finished 1-36 down on Bissegger.
Another rider who may have been hoping for a top result at this race, Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) did not have a good day on the time trial bike by his standards. The Welshman finished in 45th on the stage, 57 seconds down and leaving him at almost two minutes behind on GC.
The top 18 riders are all within a minute of Bissegger though, leaving the race wide open with hilly and cobbled terrain still to come in the remaining five stages at this race that is split between the Netherlands and Belgium.
The third day of the Benelux Tour is a very flat stage from Essen to Hoogerheide with four laps around the finishing circuit to complete the 168.3km route that should come down to the first major bunch sprint of the race. Wind may play a part yet again however.
Benelux Tour 2021, stage two: Lelystad to Lelystad (11.1km ITT)
1. Stefan Bissegger (Sui) EF Education-Nippo, in 12-08
2. Edoardo Affini (Ita) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 15s
3. Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama-FDJ, at 20s
4. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 21s
5. Max Walscheid (Ger) Team Qhubeka-NextHash, at 22s
6. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 23s
7. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM, at 24s
8. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka-NextHash, at 26s
9. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, at 29s
10. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, at 31s.
General classification after stage two
1. Stefan Bissegger (Sui) EF Education-Nippo, in 3-44-29
2. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 19s
3. Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama-FDJ, at same time
4. Max Walscheid (Ger) Team Qhubeka-NextHash, at 21s
5. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka-NextHash, at 26s
6. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, at 28s
7. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain Victorious, at 36s
8. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange, at 38s
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious, at 42s
10. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM, at 45s
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