“We saw a great race from our guys today. Our plan worked out,” said sports director Jens Zemke after the stage. “We absolutely wanted to be in the day's break group. Jay put in a fantastic performance impressively represented our team, despite the horrible weather conditions, with rain and cold.”

“And with Gerald's second place we can also be satisfied,” he continued. “Our chances are good and in the next few days we will continue to try to shape the race.”

Jimmy Engoulvent (Sojasun) retained his overall lead, ahead of Danny Van Poppel (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Jonathan Hivert (Sojasun). Jaco Venter is still the best MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung rider, in 30th place, with Gerald Ciolek as 39th.

Jay Thomson made the first move in the race, attacking early on, only to be caught again. But the South African time trial champion was determined to be away, and went again, this time joined by Duber Quintero of Colombia. This move was successful and the duo pulled away, building up a lead of six minutes.

The two stayed together a long way on the rainy day, but eventually their gap dropped, and Thomson took off on his own, building the lead back up. He did his best, but the wind was against him for a solo flight, and with 33 kilometers to go, he was finally caught after his strong efforts on the day.

That set up the expected mass sprint, as the wind and rain got worse and worse. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung managed to bring Ciolek into position for the sprint, and the Milan-San Remo winner took second place on the day.

Friday's second stage again features six climbs on the 173.1 kilometers between Schifflange and Walferdange, but a mass sprint is again expected. The race ends on Sunday after four stages.

Race information:

Tour de Luxembourg (Luxembourg) – (June 12 -16 / UCI 2.HC): Andreas Stauff (GER), Gerald Ciolek (GER), Ignatas Konovalovas (LIT), Jaco Venter (RSA), Martin Reimer (GER), Jay Thomson (RSA), Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA) and Sergio Pardilla (ESP)

Staff: Jens Zemke (Directeur Sportif), Basi Büffel (Soigneur), Hagen Bernutz (Soigneur), Heiko Heinrici (Mechanic), Daniele Nieri (Mechanic), Francesco Bonnini (Bus Driver)