Douchy-les-Mines, France - Champion System Pro Cycling Team's Fabian Schnaidt, who was 10th on the opening stage of 4 Jours de Dunkerque on Wednesday, finished eighth on Stage 2 Thursday.
Sprinting to the finish, Champion System's Clinton Avery and Zach Bell were well situated to lead him out, but they both suffered tire punctures. Schnaidt lost several places before he could accelerate again, said Champion System Assistant Director Franky Van Haesebroucke.
"It was a big disappointment to have two punctures in the final kilometer," said Van Haesebroucke. "I'm sure he would at least be top five without the punctures."
Arnaud Demare (FDJ), won from a field sprint for the second consecutive day. Despite the mechanical issues, Schnaidt still had the power to finish in the elite front group. Schnaidt, who was fifth on Stage 9 of the Tour de Langkawi, is Champion System's best-placed rider overall in 14th, 20 seconds behind Demare.
Four riders attacked early into the 178.2-kilometer race that featured several pavé sections. The escapees built a lead of more than two minutes before getting reeled in with less than 50 km to go. A new breakaway quickly materialized and earned a gap of more than a minute, but ultimately was brought back with 12 km remaining. This set the stage for a bunch sprint of more than 100 riders.
Champion System's General Manager Ed Beamon said Schnaidt's top 10 finishes are a reflection of the team's collective confidence and teamwork, especially with the Asian riders. Champion System is Asia's first and only pro continental team, so the pavé sections and the European racing scene are new to these riders.
"With a couple pavé sections from Paris-Roubaix on today's stage, Chun Kai Feng is getting a fast education and really handling it very well," Beamon said. "He's a real tiger and quickly adapting to this north European style of racing."
The five-day stage race continues Friday with a 179-km stage running from Oignies to Liévin.