Stage two turned out to be another frantic race with the peloton splitting into several groups early on before coming back together and fracuring again several times.
The major split came when a 35-rider group formed in the first half of the race. Within this group were five of the six Team Giant-Shimano riders, including Kirsten.
Always thinking about the overall classification, Kirsten picked up two bonus seconds and to this added another ten with the stage win.
This group swelled as a hard chase from the group behind, but the women’s team remained in control and in the closing kilometres Claudia Häusler marked an attack, getting away and forming a good gap over the chasing peloton.
This left the chase behind up to the other teams and allowed Team Giant-Shimano to rally around Kirsten and set her up for the sprint if it all came back together.
Claudia was finally caught in the final kilometres after which Kirsten came powering through to take her second consecutive stage of the race.
“Today was the way I like to race – lots of action, full gas and then to sprint it out at the end,” said Kirsten after the finish.
“We knew that through Bourtange early on we needed to go full gas as it was very narrow and technical and in doing this we split the bunch.
“It made it hard for everyone and the riders behind had to work hard to get back on. We were in a really good position later on when Claudia got away, and we could just rest in the wheels behind then take over when she got brought back.
“Willeke Knol did a great job on her birthday to start the lead-out and then Amy Pieters and Sara Mustonen finished it off perfectly.
“A great effort by the team and hopefully we can do the same again tomorrow morning.”
Team Giant-Shimano coach, Dirk Reuling said: “We weren’t too sure what to expect from today’s stage but right from the off it was very fast like yesterday. It was constantly lined out and very nervous until after about 25km when the race hit the narrow roads in the village of Bourtange and split into six groups.
“We were in a great position with five riders in the front group again. One rider attacked on her own at got over a minutes gap but the team didn’t panic and helped bring her back when they needed to.
“Claudia jumped to mark an attack in the last 10km and got a gap of 20 seconds and this relieved the pressure from the team behind. In the end the race came back together and Kirsten did another great sprint.
“It’s great to see the whole team looking strong and working so well together. Tomorrow is the split day and we will once again try to pick up bonus seconds before the team time trial in the afternoon which they will give everything and see how the GC looks afterwards.”
Full result and reaction to follow.
Stage 2 Result
1 Kirsten Wild Team Giant-Shimano 2:47:28
2 Barbara Guarischi Alé Cipollini ,,
3 Elizabeth Armitstead Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team ,,
25 Amy Pieters Team Giant-Shimano ,,
28 Claudia Häusler Team Giant-Shimano ,,
30 Sara Mustonen Team Giant-Shimano 0:10
83 Willeke Knol Team Giant-Shimano 1:44
84 Julia Soek Team Giant-Shimano ,,