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"Sagan wil be my biggest rival. When Dumoulin and Martin couldn't match my time, he was the only one I was a bit worried about. He'll be playing a big part the next few days."

Photo: A.S.O.


20.09.2016 @ 22:43 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Rohan Dennis (BMC) confirmed that he is the best rider in the world in short, flat time trials when he rode to a dominant win in the 9.6km race against the clock on the second day at the Eneco Tour. Having stopped the clock in 10.48, he was five seconds faster than Jos Van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) while Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar) was a massive 14 seconds behind in third. With the win, Dennis also moves into the overall lead.


We have gathered several reactions.


Dennis: Sagan will be my biggest rival

Rohan Dennis proved that he was the fastest man against the clock on stage 2 of the Eneco Tour when he smashed the 9.6km individual time trial to win the stage and take the leader’s jersey.


Dennis was one of the early starters and was the first rider to go under 11 minutes, clocking 10’48” on the line to set the time to beat for the next three hours of racing.


With the course being completely flat it was the perfect time trial for the current Australian national time trial champion, who beat Jos Van Emden (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) by five seconds and was 14 seconds in front of Jasha Sutterlin (Movistar Team).


Dennis leads the general classification by five seconds over Van Emden and 13 seconds over Peter Sagan (Tinkoff).


Taylor Phinney put in a fast ride to clock the seventh-fastest time and Tom Bohli and Stefan Küng cracked the top 20 in 15th and 19th place respectively.


Dennis’ win is his third time trial win of the season and first UCI WorldTour stage win for 2016.


“From what I saw from my side, it was as close to perfection in a time trial. I took all the risks and kind of crossed my fingers ever time I went through a corner. But it worked out. Today was as quick as I could go,” Dennis said.


“It’s great to win a stage and even better to take the lead. It’s going to put pressure on the team to perform every day but we’re here to win with either myself or Greg Van Avermaet. The team time trial will be another big day for the GC, so it’s just about making sure we all stay up front and don’t lose time each day. I think the Limburg stage and the final stage are also big concerns for the GC.


“Kiryienka missing that start time helped me a little in a way. He’s a class time trialer, he’s World Champion, but he started about 20 seconds in front of me. It gave me a little carrot you could say to chase until about 1km to go. When he went 40 seconds late he still went hard so that was a good guide to how well I was going.


“Today’s performance was good for confidence when it comes to Qatar. I was a little bit worried before coming here. I thought that maybe because I’ve lost weight since Rio, maybe I’ve lost that raw power that I had when I was a couple of kilograms heavier. It’s flat, there’s corners here in the time trial and it was all about who had the most power today so that’s a good indication for Qatar, considering that’s going to be 100% flat.”


Dennis knows who to look out for the next couple of days.


"Sagan wil be my biggest rival. When Dumoulin and Martin couldn't match my time, he was the only one I was a bit worried about. He'll be playing a big part the next few days."

Van Emden: It was good but not good enough

Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider Jos van Emden placed second in the stage two time trial of the Eneco Tour today. Emden had 11'53 needed for the 9.6km time trial in Breda but it was five seconds slower than winner Rohan Dennis (BMC). Wilco Kelderman was fourth and his team-mate Primoz Roglic recorded the sixth best time. In the overall standings, Dylan Groenewegen lost the jersey to Rohan Dennis.


"Such a short time trial is always difficult, you're never totally empty after the race. I rode as fast as possible and left nothing," said Jos van Emden. "I would prefer to win but in this field it is very difficult. For me, riding a good time trial depends on many factors, in such a course like this, I know can I win. The real time trial riders can win on multiple courses.


"It was good, but just not good enough. It was a course for me. It is never perfect.  You can only say that in a long time trial, if you have done it very well. Here it's just about going hard and go full gas through the curves.”


Besides Jos van Emden, Wilco Kelderman took fourth and Primoz Roglic placed sixth. Kelderman said:


“This was a good time trial for me, I prefer a longer time trial and with more hills."


Roglic added:


"I am satisfied with the time, though it can always be better, of course. Some of the corners were maybe a little harder, but I did my best. I'm still looking for my best type of time trial, such a short time trial is now also going well and that's nice to discover."


Trainer Mathieu Heijboer saw that they did well.


"You always prefer to win, but the three men did their best. It looked very good, Jos rode a large gear and sat very still. We knew early on that it was going to be a great time."


Also Wilco Kelderman and Primoz Roglic rode a good time trial for the classification.


"Roglic recorded a good target time that I could focus on with Kelderman. Wilco rode very aggressively and is in the final stretch, he was still under the time of Roglic."


On Friday, a team time trial is on the programme. Jos van Emden said:


"I am certainly ambitious for that day. If we can ride top three, I'm  content.


"We need to be sharp again, the team time trial will be very important for the general classification. We must ensure that we maintain a good team time trial for Primoz, Wilco and Jos."


Dylan Groenewegen today lost the leader's jersey, but was not sorry.


"It's not my thing, but I did a good time trial.


"It's nice to finally get started in the leader's jersey. It's motivating to ride hard in your own country. I am thinking of tomorrow, to recover well and then sprint again."


Breakthrough performance for Sütterlin on good day for Movistar

The big day for the Movistar Team also included a great performance from the whole group on stage two of the Eneco Tour, a 9.6km ITT in and around Breda. Vice German champion Jasha Sütterlin shone bright as he took an impressive 3rd place, his best result ever in the WorldTour, only behind Rohan Dennis (BMC) and Jos Van Emden (TLJ) and ahead of big specialists like Tony Martin, Tom Dumoulin, Taylor Phinney... and team-mates Alex Dowsett (10th) and Ion Izagirre (11th), the latter in a good position for the GC. Another sprint should happen tomorrow in Ardooie (184km) before roads get lumpier on Thursday: that will be the Blues' place in the week's racing.


Brändle confident for Worlds after great top 5 in Eneco Tour TT

Matthias Brändle finished fifth. He said:


“Taking a place in the top-5 is always good for the confidence. With the exception of the two stages at the Tour de Fjords and then the time trial at the European Championships last week, I hadn’t raced in an official event for two months.


“I am satisfied with my result. I am racing this tour mainly as preparation for the world championships in the time trial at Doha. There is still work to do, but I am motivated for that event, and indeed am also keen to help the IAM Cycling team during Friday’s team time trial where we can aim for the podium.”


The friendly rivalry between teammates Matthias Brändle and Martin Elmiger continues. They were tied 1-1 after the Tour de Suisse, but since Brändle’s time at the ENECO Tour was eight seconds faster than Elmiger’s, the advantage now rests with the former world hour record holder.


Thierry Marichal, directeur sportif for IAM Cycling, said:


“The guys lived up to our expectations. This bodes well for the team time trial on Friday where everyone expects important gaps to be created before the decisive weekend.  With assets like Dries Devenyns, Oliver Naesen, Martin Elmiger and Reto Hollenstein, we have some of the best guys for this discipline. Of course today, Rohan Dennis (BMC) was just untouchable.”


Sagan: We will know what’s possible after the team time trial

You can seemingly throw any stage at him, and he will respond with a big performance. We’re of course talking about Peter Sagan, who, after sprinting to third on yesterday’s opening stage of the Eneco Tour, has today time trialled to eighth on stage 2, moving up to third on GC.
The only individual time trial of the race covered a 9.6km out-and-back loop, starting and finishing in the Dutch town of Breda. With some long, straight sections and few corners to negotiate it was a course suited to the powerful riders, with the sprinters getting up there on the results sheet alongside the TT specialists by the end of the day.
With his position on the stage, together with his third place yesterday, Sagan assumes the lead in the points classification. After the stage, he told:


“I gave my best today and am happy with my time trial and third on GC. Everything is about seconds here and we’re still in a good position. It is important not to crash in the next days and we will see if there’s any wind, and take it day by day – I think the team time trial will be decisive. On Sunday the legs were super and now they’re a bit more tired, but I’m feeling good.

"Of course I'm happy with my performance in the time trial. Am I the favourite for the win? It will come down to seconds. It's a long road to Geraardsbergen."


The road includes a crucial team time trial on Friday in Sittard-Geleen.


"That stage will give an important indication for the final victory, but there are other difficult stages too," Sagan reckons. "We'll see how it goes. I can only be happy with my season and I'm here to enjoy myself."


"I'm glad I've done such a beautiful time trial, because that is not really my specialty. I want to have some fun here. If you look at the GC, everyone is still within a range of a few seconds. We're only on Tuesday. Sunday, the final day of the race, is still far away. The stages that are coming are not the easiest.”


"The team time trial will be decisive for the remainder of the Eneco Tour. We need to get there with our team ready for the day. Then we can adjust the ambitions. But don’t forget the stages on  Wednesday and Thursday. With the wind, it may result in similarly large time differences. The risk of crashes  is never far away in these stages. "

Alongside Sagan, Maciej Bodnar also rode a solid race, ending the day in 23rd place, 23 seconds down, while Michael Valgren limited his losses to 34 seconds, to finish 45th on the stage.
Sport Director, Tristian Hoffman commented on the day’s performances from the finish, saying:


“I think Peter did really well, he rode a strong time trial and we still have options for the GC with just 13 seconds in it. The course was quite straight forward, with just three or four corners where you had to come out of the bars, and the rest was fast. Peter looked comfortable, fast and took the corners well so there’s no complaints.
“Tomorrow it looks like there’s no wind again so it shouldn’t be too crazy. We go down the coast, and finish on laps where I expect we’ll have a bunch sprint. After that, some of the climbs start from Thursday.”
Kittel: This good time trial makes me confident for tomorrow

Boxed in during yesterday's stage finale and unable to contest the sprint, Marcel Kittel was determined to prove his strong condition on the second day of the Eneco Tour, which scheduled a 9.6km in Breda, the Dutch town that previously hosted a race against the clock at the 2014 edition.  A focused and motivated Kittel was among the last riders to leave the start house and found the short distance of the ITT very much to his liking, putting in an impressive ride in the company of a world class field, which included many of the contenders for next month's World Championships in Qatar. At the end of the day, the 28-year-old crossed the line in 11:07, less than 20 seconds down on the stage winner, and made a significant jump in the overall standings, going up to 9th place.


"I am happy, because I got a good result today and felt strong on the bike. Before the start, I thought of the Giro d'Italia time trial in the Netherlands and wanted to give it my all and do my best. It wasn't easy, as I'm no time trial specialists, but things worked well today. Not coming too far from the very best shows that I have good legs and gives me even more motivation for tomorrow", said Kittel – a former Junior ITT World Champion – who will be one of the favourites in stage 3 of the Eneco Tour, which is set to take the peloton over 182 kilometers, from Blanenberge to Ardooie, in Belgium.

Tired Dumoulin: I hope to be better in Qatar

Tom Dumoulin finished in 14th placewith a time of 11’08”, 20″ seconds down on the stage winner over the 9.6km route. Also in the mix was Søren Kragh Andersen who finished 16th, closely followed by Chad Haga in 22nd place. Dumoulin is now 14th in the general classification, 20″ behind the new overall leader Rohan Dennis.


After his time trial, Dumoulin said: “Today it didn’t work out. I have had a busy season with a lot of races. During the time trial, I couldn’t get into any kind of rhythm, and I was lacking my normal sharpness.


“I’m disappointed with the result but more wasn’t possible. I just couldn’t get any more out of myself. At the end of the season, it’s getting more difficult to show the level that is required to go for the victory. I hope I will be in a better condition for the worlds, though.”


"To beat the world’s best riders here in a time trial, you should be able to pull yourself apart. Then you need to attack the course and the turns, but I could not do that. I was not bad, but that extra bit was not there. The focus to beat everybody was not there. "


Time trial provides Astana with confidence for the team time trial

Andriy Grivko was the best Astana rider in 18th.


"It was a fast time trial and we were not far away from the specialists. Indeed, the overall result gives us hope for the next Friday’s TTT,” said sport director Paul Slongo.


"It was too bad for Dmitry Gruzdev. He was doing a good time but unfortunately he had a flat tire with only a kilometer to go.”


Felline sets personal record in Eneco Tour time trial

Fabio Felline completed the stage two 9.6-kilometer time trial at the Eneco Tour in a time of 11 minutes and 12 seconds, 24 seconds off the pace of winner Rohan Dennis (BMC), who was one of only two riders to go under 11 minutes.


The pancake flat course suited the specialists and not Felline, who would have preferred a climb or two, but the Italian continued to show his strong form of late, powering through the intense race with a personal best effort.


"If I check my performance for myself, I think I did a very strong time trial," said Felline. "But in this flat parcours, with my weight, it is difficult to do the best. Also, when Josu (Larrazabal, Head of Performance) analyzed my file, he told me that I did a personal record!"


"The results did not show this, but this is normal. You need a lot of power, a good weight, and I am a little bit too skinny," he smiled.  "No, what is important is the feeling, and that was very good, so we shall see what unfolds in the next days. I am happy that I gave my maximum."


While Felline set a PR to keep him in contention in the overall classification, Jasper Stuyven - who was next fastest for Trek-Segafredo finishing in 11:41 (+53") - did not have his best performance against the clock, pushing down his GC chances. 


However, in the team's fight for stage victories, Stuyven will play a major role in the next days and, as is always the case in cycling, nothing is over until the last finish line is crossed.


Tomorrow the race continues with stage three, which is projected to end in a bunch finish.


Orica-BikeExchange looking to the weekend after solid time trial from Matthews

2016 Tour de France stage winner Michael Matthews produced the fastest time for ORICA-BikeExchange in the individual time trial on stage two of the Eneco Tourtoday.


Matthews finished in 27th place on the stage with a time of 11minutes and 12seconds for the 9.6kilometre course, 24seconds down on eventual winner Rohan Dennis (BMC).


The stage win saw Dennis move into the overall race lead with Matthews also in 27th on the general classification ahead of stage three.


Road captain Mathew Hayman did not start stage two due to sickness.


Sport director Laurenzo Lapage praised the efforts of Matthews against a tough field.


“Michael (Matthews) produced a very good time trial today,” said Lapage. “His time is more than respectable considering who is around him on the leader board, ex-world and European champions who are specialists in their field and the winner, Dennis, was in a class of his own today.


“BMC will have to defend the race now and that will be difficult to do from the only the second day, there is still a long way to go.


“Tomorrow is 90% sure to be a bunch sprint finish, but after that the racing will be very aggressive on tough parcours and there should be good opportunities for the breakaways.”


Sky: Thomas is still in the mix

Geraint Thomas remains in overall contention at the Eneco Tour after producing a solid ride on the day two time trial.


Thomas finished the 9.6 kilometre course in 11 minutes 20 seconds, 32 seconds back on stage winner Rohan Dennis (BMC), who completed the test in central Breda at an average speed of 53.3km/h.


That leaves Thomas 32 seconds off the lead, with two hilly stages and a team time trial still to come in Holland and Belgium.


Vasil Kiryienka put in a strong performance out on course but the time trial world champion was hamstrung after a pre-stage technical issue saw him head down the ramp late.


Danny van Poppel was the team's next man home, 43 seconds back, with Ben Swift home seven seconds later. Michal Kwiatkowski, Andy Fenn and Lars Petter Nordhaug all finished safely.


After a relatively quiet start to the race, Sport Director Servais Knaven talked through the day and gave an injury report on Van Poppel after his crash on day one.


"G was our top finisher today and although he's lost some time he's in the mix. We've seen from previous editions there's lots that can happen in this race," said the Dutchman.


"Danny is okay after his crash and he was able to do a decent time today. He felt pretty good ahead of the stage. He had some pain yesterday but today was much better.


"I expect a bunch sprint tomorrow, as well as Thursday and probably also on Saturday. Hopefully he can recover well enough to be in the mix tomorrow and go for the stage win again. That's the aim."

Disappointment for Boasson Hagen in Eneco Tour TT

Edvald Boasson Hagen was Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s best finisher with a time of 11.22min.


Tyler Farrar and Bernhard Eisel were among the early starters to take on today’s TT for the African team that has its focus set on supporting Boasson Hagen this week. As such, the stage was one to get through for most of the team. Boasson Hagen though was keen to underline his good position in the GC. In the end he crossed the line 34sec down on Dennis. He is now 34sec behind new race leader Dennis, staying in contention with 5 days left to race.


Bernhard Eisel said:


”Today’s TT was especially a goal for Edvald as we’re eyeing a good position in the overall with him. On paper he might have lost 34sec on stage winner Dennis, who was already strong at the Tour of Britain and basically rode one of his best TT’s ever today, but if one takes a closer look, he’s only around 15sec behind the other GC contenders. He stays in contention for the overall with several hard stages to come, which is good for us. BMC have a strong team here and they’ll also be the favorites for the TTT this Friday. However, the GC will only be decided on Sunday’s tough stage to Geraardsbergen, I guess, so there’s still a lot of cards that can be played.”



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