Leon Heinschke finished second on the opening stage of the Circuit des Ardennes after an action filled first day of racing in France that saw three Development Team DSM riders make thee decisive breakaway of the day.
After an attacking start to the stage where not much was going clear a break of seven riders eventually got a small gap, including Enzo Leijnse. This was the only real break in the first 40 kilometres but was brought back before a strong break of 18 went clear with Hannes Wilksch, Leo Hayter and Heinschke with around 70 kilometres left to race.
The leaders’ gap grew to over one minute 20 seconds before the race was stopped 26 kilometres from the finish after some riders were sent the wrong way. After a pause and restart the groups on the road were reset with their advantages and the lead group, down to 17, sustained their lead. Heading into the final 10 kilometres the attacks started and Heinschke got clear with four others from which the stage would be fought out as they quickly built a lead of 40 seconds.
Heinschke eventually crossed the line in second after one rider jumped clear in the closing stages, Heinschke crossing the line just three seconds behind. Hayter and Wilksch finished 12th and 13th respectively and all three hold the same positions overall going into tomorrow’s second stage.