Road: Dempster Wins Ronde Opener

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Dempster Wins Ronde de l'Oise Opener

9 June 2011 | Source: Rapha Condor Sharp Press Release/Tom Southam

Zak Dempster has continued his stunning season with his first win on European soil in 2011, taking out the first stage of the UCI 2.2 ranked Ronde de l'Oise.

Dempster had been part of a 35-man group that formed in the early stages of the race. With almost all the bigger teams represented in the move, that had formed as several groups merged off the front, the group strolled to a 3 minute advantage before any serious efforts were made to bring it back.

Dempster who has shown excellent form this season, with five wins already to his name, was confident of the victory in the final sprint and used up his two team mates in the move appropriately.

"I have to thank Dan Craven and Jon Tiernan-Locke today. They both rode really strongly to ensure that the move firstly stayed clear, and secondly that it would come down to a group sprint".

"With such a big group it is inevitable that guys were sitting on and were pretty fresh in the final. Getting it all to come together was the hard part, then on a sprint like that with the form I have this year I was pretty confident I'd get it".

Winning in France is a major boost to the ambitious Dempster who's other victories had all come in the UK so far this year.

"This is my first ever win in France, I was close at Circuit Lorraine (2nd on stage 2) but this is a massive satisfaction. I think I'm showing with these results that I am ready to step up to a World Tour team".

By virtue of taking the time bonus at the end of the stage as well as having picked up a useful time bonus en route, Dempster now holds the overall lead by 3 seconds. Something the men in black will be keen to defend over the following three stages.

Follow the Rapha Condor Sharp team twitter for up to date results from the Ronde de l'Oise at