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Arriving at the finish with all 8 riders, BMC beat Etixx-QuickStep by 6 seconds in the team time trial on stage 5 of the Eneco Tour; LottoNL-Jumbo was 23 seconds off the pace in this place and Dennis is back in the lead

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23.09.2016 @ 16:57 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

BMC lived up their status as the overwhelming favourites in the team time trial on stage 5 of the Eneco Tour as the American beat Etixx-QuickStep in a close battle. Arriving at the finish with all 8 riders, they stopped the clock in 23.11 to go six seconds faster than Etixx-QuickStep while LottoNL-Jumbo was a massive 23 seconds behind in a distant third place. Rohan Dennis is back in the leader’ jersey with a 16-second advantage over teammate Taylor Phinney as Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) slips to fourth, 27 seconds off the pace.

 

In the last two years, BMC have won almost every single WorldTour team time trial and have emerged as the clear favourites whenever there’s a collective ride against the clock. Now they are aiming to make it three in a row at the World Championships in Qatar and to get ready for the big event, they have gathered almost their entire team of specialists for this week’s Eneco Tour.

 

With a team made up only of specialists, the Americans went into today’s fifth stage as the overwhelming favourite in what was widely regarded as the big dress rehearsal for the Worlds. The team fully lived up to expectations as Rohan Dennis, Greg Van Avermaet, Taylor Phinney, Manuel Quinziato, Tom Bohli, Stefan Küng, Daniel Oss and Joey Rosskopf stayed together on the hilly 20.9km in the Dutch Limburg province to stop the clock in 23.11 which turned out to be the fastest ride of the day.

 

However, BMC were probably not as superior as many had expected as Etixx-QuickStep delivered a very strong performance to take second, just six seconds off the pace. Despite having lost Tom Boonen in a crash yesterday, the team had enough to power to push the Americans to the limit, with Tony Martin, Bob Jungels, Nikie Terpstra, Matteo Trentin and Zdenek Stybar stopping the clock in 23.17 to briefly take the lead before BMC beat them a few minutes later.

 

LottoNL-Jumbo had three riders in the top 6 in the team time trial and so were expected to do well on home soil. Again they proved their huge progress as Primoz Roglic, Wilco Kelderman, Jos Van Emden, Timo Roosen and Dylan Groenewegen posted a time of 23.34 and even though they were far behind BMC, it was good enough for third place.

 

The disappointment was probably the Movistar team whose many specialists could only manage fourth, losing a massive 25 seconds to BMC. As opposed to this, IAM delivered a great performance to take fifth just one second further back and so they were close to beating two of the four pre-race favourites.

 

One of the big question marks was how much time overall leader Peter Sagan would lose and as expected he and his Tinkoff team had a difficult day. The Russians could only manage 8th with a time of 23.45 and so the Slovakian lost 34 seconds to key rival Rohan Dennis.

 

The result sees Dennis move back into the lead with a 16-second advantage over his teammate Taylor Phinney, with Tony Martin sitting 8 seconds further back in third place. Sagan slips to fourth and now has to make up 27 seconds in the final two stages.

 

Sagan will get his first chance in tomorrow’s stage 6 which is the hilliest of the race. The riders will head into the Ardennes where they will face a long series of climbs in the final 100km. However, the final challenge comes with 18km to g and from there it is a mainly flat run to the finish where the riders will face a final kilometre that is slightly uphill at an average gradient of 3%.

 

A lumpy course

After yesterday’s classics stage, it was time for the most important stage on the fifth day. The 20.9km team time trial was held on a hilly course around the Dutch city of Sittard-Geelen where the riders had to tackle two climbs on the narrow and twisting roads that are known from the Amstel Gold Race.

 

It was a great sunny day when Dimension Data rolled down the ramp as the first team. The South African squad did a solid ride to stop the clock in 24.47 but they didn’t get much time in the hot seat. Already the next team, Lampre-Merida, were 15 seconds faster with a time 24.32 and the Italians would lead the race for several minutes.

 

Best time for Lampre-Merida

As expected Wanty-Groupe Gobert was off the pace as they could only manage 24.55 and instead it was Topsport Vlaanderen who was the first threat for Lampre-Merida. Despite arriving with all 8 riders, the Belgians were just one second off the pace and slotted into second place.

 

Roompot were unable to match the best and with a time 25.02, they were the first team to spend more than 25 minutes on the course. Cofidis was also far off the pace as Cyril Lemoine and Geoffrey Soupe led four of their teammates  across the line in 24.49 to slot into fourth.

 

Sky lower the mark

Lampre-Merida were finally beaten when the Trek quintet of Fabio Felline, Marco Coledan, Giacomo Nizzolo, Jasper Stuyven and Stijn Devolder stopped the clock in 24.23. However, they had bare caught their breath before Luka Mezgec, Alexander Edmondson, Michael Matthews and Michael Hepburn went one second faster for Orica-BikeExchange to take over the lead.

 

Ag2r arrived with seven riders in a time of 24.41 which was good enough for fifth place. However, it was the Sky team that got all the attention. Despite being reduced to just four riders pretty far from the finish, Geraint Thomas, Michal Kwiatkowski, Danny Van Poppel and Ben Swift stopped the clock in 23.49 to take a dominant lead with an advantage of a massive 33 seconds.

 

Lotto Soudal take the lead

Katusha was the next team to arrive and they turned out to be a big threat for Sky. Michael Mørkøv and Alexander Kristoff led five of their teammates across the line in 23.52 and so they missed out by just 3 seconds.

 

Lotto Soudal did a surprisingly good team time as André Greipel, Jens Debusschere, Tim Wellens, Tiesj Benoot, Frederik Frison and Lars Bak reached the finish in 23.40 which was nine seconds faster than Sky. FDJ was not far off the mark as their time of 23.51 was enough for third place and so they proved their huge progress in the discipline.

 

Excellent ride by IAM

Astana kept Andriy Grivko in GC contention as the Ukrainian, Lars Boom, Dmitriy Gruzdev and Alexey Lutsenko stopped the clock in 23.52 to slot into fifth. Cannondale arrived with seven riders and were just one second slower, thus moving into sixth.

 

John Degenkolb, Tom Dumoulin, Chad Haga and Søren Kragh did a great TT for Giant-Alpecin as they reached the finish in 23.44 to slot into second, just four seconds off the pace. However, it was the IAM team that finally managed to beat Lotto Soudal as Heinrich Haussler, Dries Devenyns, Reto Hollenstein, Martin Elmiger, Matthias Brändle and Oliver Naesen reached the finish in 23.37 to beat Lotto Soudal by 3 seconds.

 

BMC win the stage

IAM didn’t even get to sit in the hot seat as Etixx-QuickStep turned out to be significantly faster. Niki Terpstra, Bob Jungels, Tony Martin, Matteo Trentin and Zdenek Stybar sprinted to the line in 23.17 to beat the Swiss team by a massive 20 seconds.

 

There was disappointment for Movistar as seven riders from the team – only Francisco Ventoso had been dropped – stopped the clock in 23.36 which was only good enough for a distant sixth place. Instead, it was BMC who lived up to expectations as a full line-up of 8 riders went six seconds faster than Etixx-QuickStep, moving into the lead with a  time of 23.11.

 

LottoNL-Jumbo confirmed their huge progress in the time trials as the Dutch team posted a time of 23.34 to slot into third, with Jos Van Emden, Wilco Kelderman, Primoz Roglic, Dylan Groenewegen and Timo Roosen arriving together. Sagan did his best to limit his losses but together with teammates Pavel Brutt, Maciej Bodnar and Erik Baska, he could only managed 23.45 and an 8th place finish.

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