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"This morning I never thought I would win. I never thought we would make it to the finish. This is a great victory. The team leader said I should go in the attack today. That's what I did with just one goal: make it to the finish a...

Photo: A.S.O.

RENEWI TOUR

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24.09.2016 @ 22:39 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Luka Pibernik (Lampre-Merida) delivered a massive surprise when he rode to victory on the tough stage 6 at the Eneco Tour. Part of a 6-rider breakaway, he was one of five riders to narrowly keep the peloton at bay and with a perfectly timed sprint, he beat Mark McNally (Wanty) and Bert Van Lerberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen) in the final dash to the line. Rohan Dennis (BMC) finished safely and retained the lead on the eve of the queen stage.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Pibernik: This morning I never expected to win the stage

LAMPRE-MERIDA have won in the Eneco Tour and they did it in the way that has characterized the whole season of the blue-fuchsia-green team: by attacking. Luka Pibernik won the 6th stage, completing a long breakaway.

Pibernik began his sprint with 250 meters to go and beat McNally and Van Lerberghe, obtaining the third succeess in his career and giving LAMPRE-MERIDA the 18th seasonal victory.

"I won my first World Tour race, I'm very satisfied,” Pibernik explained.” LAMPRE-MERIDA approached each stage of the Eneco Tour with a battling spirit. Today it was my turn to try to join the breakaways and I succeeded in joining the right one.  The cooperation between the breakaway's members was very good. We were only focused on defending our advantage on the peloton.
 

”Only when we entered the final kilometer did I realize that we had the opportunity to win the stage. In my opinion, Gougeard was the strongest rider in the breakway, so I decided to begin the sprint by following him. However with 250 meters to go, I preferred to begin my progression and it was the winning choice.

 

"This morning I never thought I would win. I never thought we would make it to the finish. This is a great victory. The team leader said I should go in the attack today. That's what I did with just one goal: make it to the finish as fast as possible.

 

"It doesn't happen often that the breakaway manages to go all the way, but with one kilometre to go I figured we would make it. Then I saved my energy, chose the wheel of Gougeard and gave everything I had with 200 metres to go."

 

"It is unbelievable that I win here, an indescribable feeling. We never really had much of an advantage and I expected that they would catch us in finale. In was a brilliant end of a hard and long day. "

 

Unusual riding style pays off for Van Lerberghe at the Eneco Tour

Bert Van Lerberghe finished third and is almost guaranteed to win the sprints jersey.

 

"Tomorrow I just have to keep an eye on Mark McNally and then I will be the winner of the green-black jersey," he told Het Nieuwsblad.

 

”We'll never know [if the fight for points cost me the win]. I do not like such hot weather. In the end of the stage I also suffered from cramps. In the sprint I tried but I immediately felt that it was impossible. A third place was my result. I had already lost power when Mark McNally upped the pace on the climbs. He is a bit lighter than me and hence also a better climber.

 

"In order to keep up with him, I had to really go deep. But I always succeeded. Tomorrow it is the last stage. Maybe I can again be in an early break if McNally is also part of it. Normally, that's not my style of riding. I love to be quieted and focus on my sprint. But with the participants here I would have never have competed for the victory in the sprint. So I set my sights on this jersey and it has gone well.”

 

Haga: My goal was just to go for the Golden Kilometre

Chad Haga finished off an attacking day of racing for team Giant-Alpecin with a fifth place from the breakaway

 

Chad Haga said after the stage: “It was a goal to be in the breakaway today. We expected the breakaway to be caught but maybe not before the golden kilometer. So I managed to get nine bonus seconds there and move up the GC a little bit. But it went even better and the break made it to the finish with a time gap, so that was good for the GC. Overall I had a good day out front, making the bike race and not just being a passenger.”

 

Coach Morten Bennekou added: “Today we had the objective to be in the break, with either Søren [Kragh] or Chad with the aim to gain seconds in the golden kilometer. It was a great effort from Chad to be part of it, and he managed to take all the bonification seconds. After that, we expected the peloton to catch them but they didn’t.

 

“In the finale, like Chad had used up a lot of energy to get those extra seconds, he was not as fresh as the other riders in the breakaway. In addition, he is not that experienced in those types of finishes. However, I think he did a really good job during the whole the day. For tomorrow, we will try again with Tom [Dumoulin] and John [Degenkolb], with the aim of getting a good result and improving our GC.”

 

Missed chance for Nizzolo with ’excellent legs’

A six-man breakaway led for most of the 197.2-kilometer stage six with five men reaching the finish line to contest the sprint for victory.  Luka Pibernik (Lampre-Merida) was fastest of the five, while the peloton was led across the line by Giacomo Nizzolo a mere five seconds later.

 

It has been a frustrating race for Nizzolo, who has had exceptional sensations all week but unable to have everything line up for him in the fast bunch finishes.

 

"It was clear already from early on in the race that he had good legs, I heard him say in the radio: 'I really have good legs,'" said director Dirk Demol. "So we decided to stay well protected in the bunch and to have Boy (Van Poppel) and Jasper (Stuyven) help him in the finale. But the break survived. It's a pity again when you see Giacomo wins the 6th place from the bunch, and you see who he has beaten. It was a missed chance."

 

Everything appeared under control with 25 kilometers to go with the gap to the leaders right around two minutes. The chase sputtered in the last kilometers, forcing Boy and Jasper to throw everything they had into the pursuit. However, two against five was a losing battle.

 

Under the one-kilometer banner, the leaders still had a significant gap and enough time to easily contest the win as the peloton sprinted on their heels for the minor places, leaving Nizzolo with yet another frustrating sixth place.

 

Demol added: "Gregy [Rast] came to the car in the first hour, and he was feeling really bad. He has raced a lot; he had been on the road almost since the Tour of Switzerland – the Tour de France, Arctic Tour, Canada races – and now he's here. He looked like he was completely empty, so he stopped.

 

"The rest did their best, and it's a pity that we had to sprint for the sixth. We were only with three at the end, and there were not enough teams helping to pull. It was a shame, but again, I have to say that we still have three guys – Jasper, Fabio, and Giacomo -  that are really good, and we have the queen stage tomorrow. It's super hard, and we try again, that's for sure. We don't give up."

 

Dimension Data hope to turn disappointing Eneco Tour around with stage win for Boasson Hagen

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were looking to get something out of today and so were very active in the final hour and a half of the stage. Johann van Zyl, Jay Thomson and Tyler Farrar were doing a great job to keep Edvald Boasson Hagen, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Nathan Haas positioned at the head of the peloton.

 

A few attacks started to come from the peloton on the steeper gradients and Haas showed he was going well by covering multiple moves. Nothing was really sticking though even though the peloton gradually started to lose numbers. The gap to the breakaway slowly began to dwindle but they were not giving up. Boasson Hagen was always protected and ready to pounce on any attack from the favourites but none were forthcoming. The African Team could only hope a sprint finish.

 

A crash which saw Janse van Rensburg hit the deck, disturbed the rhythm of the chase and it was really touch and go as to whether the break would make it. Thomson, Farrar, Haas and Youcef Reguigui were still there to support Boasson Hagen in the sprint but there just wasn’t enough pace at the head of the peloton to reel in the break. Coming into the home straight the break was committed and arrived first with 5 seconds to spare. Boasson Hagen put in a good sprint and took 3rd from the bunch but it saw him finish 8th on the stage.

 

Jay Thomson said:

 

”After it has been a real up and down week for us, we were super motivated to deliver Edvald to a stage win today. The stage was pretty similar to all the other stages so far with the break going fast and then the fight for the final was crazy. Our job was to deliver Tyler, Reinardt and Edvald to the last 6.5km because it was super technical. Sadly we lost Reinardt to a crash at 8km to go. Edvald did a goo job to get 3rd in the bunch sprint but unfortunately the break was still away so he finished 8th. Tomorrow there is a super hard final lap so we will be going all in and hopefully Edvald can show his strength and finish this disappointing week on a high note.”

 

Ewan taken out by mechanical at the Eneco Tour

2016 Paris-Nice stage winner Michael Matthews finished in 11th place on stage six of the Eneco Tour today after the stage win came from the breakaway.

 

Matthews was the best finisher for ORICA-BikeExchange in 11th place and with no change on the general classification Rohan Dennis (BMC) takes the race lead into tomorrow’s final stage.

 

Sport director Laurenzo Lapage anticipates an aggressive conclusion to the race on Sunday.

 

“There was no real commitment to the chase in the finale today,” said Lapage. “We were working to stay in position before the final climb with 30kilometres to go, but after that we didn’t have the numbers to fully commit on the front.

 

“Caleb Ewan suffered an untimely puncture before the finale and in any case we had Michael (Matthews) up there, but hats off to the breakaway today. They made it stick and stayed away for the stage win.

 

“It is going to be a hard and aggressive final stage tomorrow, it’s a tough parcours with four climbs over 25kilometres in the second half and a route that is reminiscent of a mini Tour of Flanders.

 

“The top ten overall are all close together and that should make for an exciting finale.”

 

Tony Martin: The stage was harder than expectec

Tony Martin, Niki Terpstra and Bob Jungels came together with the peloton at the finish, five seconds behind the escapees, and kept their top 10 places in the rankings, giving Etixx – Quick-Step three options for the mini-Tour of Flanders stage 7, which is set to come to a conclusion on the legendary cobbles of the Mur de Grammont.

 

"To be honest, I thought it would be easier today, but the pace in the pack was high and you could feel the climbs in your legs. It's been a hard week and I'm a bit tired, as is the whole peloton. The important thing is we survived and now we will focus on the final leg of the Eneco Tour, at the end of which we hope to get a nice result in the GC", said third-placed Tony Martin, who's just 24 seconds adrift going into Sunday's stage.


Marcel Sieberg breaks collarbone at the Eneco Tour

Lotto Soudal didn’t survive the Ardennes stage in one piece. In the sixth stage of the Eneco Tour, Marcel Sieberg crashed with 55 kilometres to go. At first there were no fractures noticed, but the German rider was brought over to the hospital in Maastricht for a check-up. After the medical examination, the doctors noticed a non-displaced fracture of the left collarbone. Tomorrow, the rider will undergo an operation by doctor Toon Claes in Herentals. Eventually, he will be able to participate in the World Championships in Qatar.

 

Jürgen Roelandts was the first rider of Lotto Soudal to cross the finish line. He finished fifteenth.

 

Porsev crashes at the Eneco Tour

Team KATUSHA’s Aleksandr Porsev went down hard after a round-about with 5 km to go, but was able to finish the race. 

 

Dennis: It was the perfect scenario

Rohan Dennis will line up at stage 7 of the Eneco Tour in the leader’s white jersey having successfully defended his overall lead on stage 6.

 

Dennis started the day with a 16-second lead over teammate Taylor Phinney and 24 seconds over Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) and maintained his time advantages after the breakaway managed to hold the peloton off and take the surprise win.

 

BMC Racing Team put on a brilliant display of teamwork by riding at the front and covering all of the attacks to defend Dennis’ lead.

 

BMC Racing Team continue to lead the team classification with a 23-second advantage of Team LottoNL-Jumbo.

 

Rohan Dennis said:

 

“It worked out perfectly for us. Ideally Chad Haga wasn’t in the break and we could have let them fully go but he took the bonus seconds and they stayed away so my biggest competitor Peter Sagan didn’t get any time so that was I think a perfect day for us.

 

"Our plan worked perfectly. We could let the breakway go and it was important that Peter Sagan didn't take any seconds in the Golden Kilometre.

 

“No one in the early break was any danger to the GC. That's why we let them go. We took our responsibility to go to the front of the peloton but we did not really chase.. The escapees were also vying for the nine bonus seconds during the golden kilometer. That was a relief and perfect for us, especially since Peter Sagan or any real rival could gain any seconds.

 

“I’m confident for tomorrow because our team is very strong. Today you saw that no one wanted to help us at all. Tinkoff did a little bit of work but everyone was against us but we stood up and I couldn’t fault my teammates, they were exceptional today.

 

“I think the weather is going to turn a little bit tomorrow, and anything can happen on wet cobbles. My legs are good, the team is good and it’s just luck that will be on our side. If we repeat what we did today, tomorrow then it will be perfect.

 

“Today we showed that we have the team to control it and look it would have been great to have someone else helping but maybe tomorrow someone will be more willing to help out and go for a sprint or they’ll want to try something on the Muur. So it might end up working out that we don’t have to do so much and we can save it for the finish.

 

“It would be great if Greg Van Avermaet could win the stage tomorrow like he did in 2014 and if that’s the case then I’ll be right behind him because the team will be leading him out. For the GC it’s obviously 100% for me now but going for the stage with Greg would help me out anyway.

 

"Everything will be decided on the final day on a very tough stage with lots of climbs and cobbled sections. However, I can rely on a very strong team. But it can change again. Rain is expected. It is not so nice on cobblestons. Much depends on whether luck is on our side or not. On wet roads, everything can happen. Of course I want to finish the Eneco Tour as the final winner. Tomorrow it's all or nothing. "

 

Van Emden: A top 10 finish at the Eneco Tour would be a personal highlight

Dylan Groenewegen was unable to unleash his sprint in the sixth stage of the Eneco Tour today in Lanaken. Instead, an escape group stayed clear with Slovenian Luke Pibernik (Lampre) winning the stage. Little changed in overall classification, Rohan Dennis (BMC) remains leader.

 

A crash three kilometres from the finish was not conductive for the sprint finish. It was the last possible one of the tour with tomorrow a classification day.

 

"It looked like a criterium with all the turns in the final,” said Groenewegen after his 19th place. “We were separated under one-kilometre arch and I knew we could not get the breakaway. Then we took a roundabout on the wrong side and I realised that it was over for me. Tomorrow is an important day for the GC, let’s see what I can do for our leaders." 

 

"It was a relatively quiet day in the peloton,” explained Sports Director Merijn Zeeman. “In the first hill zone, there were some attacks, but everything came back together. On the Halembaye and Muizenberg, some tried, but even then it was all shut down afterwards. Riders began to realise that a sprint was possible, but we still had a leading group with a big gap and I thought it was going be close. The leading group played it smart to win."

 

The Eneco Tour planed a classification day for the final day tomorrow. In the stage towards Geraardsbergen, peloton will face many climbs.

 

"The GC may be about to change, but BMC Racing will do everything to keep it together like today,” added Zeeman. “We want to finish as high as possible in the GC with Jos van Emden, we're going do everything to make that happen."

 

Jos van Emden sits sixth overall. Today, he rode on home roads.

 

"It's always nice to have course knowledge, but I need to know the roads of every stage. It saves a lot of energy when you have the home advantage,” Van Emden said. “It would be a highlight for me this season if I can hold my place in the GC. I have my own chances in this race, and it's nice if I can follow through with it tomorrow."

 

Movistar with fou cards to play at the Eneco Tour

In a situation growingly less natural to modern cycling, a five-man breakaway - led by Slovenian youngster Luka Pibernik (LAM) - caught the peloton out of timing and succeeded on stage six of the Eneco Tour. The 197km route between Riemst and Lanaken, with a series of little climbs on the outskirts of Liège, barely reduced the main field - Jasha Sütterlin won a place overall and now ranks 12th, as Kittel (EQS) got dropped - with Rohan Dennis (BMC) in the lead before Sunday’s big showdown.

 

The 198km stage seven will offer no less than 15 ascents - most of them cobbled - between Bornem and Geraardsbergen, with a final loop that features four climbs of the Denderoordberg and three each of the Bosberg and, above all, the Kapelmuur, whose opening slopes in the Vesten will hold the finish. Sütterline, still 39” down; Alex Dowsett, at 43”; Ion Izagirre, 44” back; and Nelson Oliveira, 47” in arrears, will all fight to enter the GC top-ten, with Sagan (TNK) looking to reduce the 27” gap he has on the white jersey.

 

Boom motivated for Muur stage at the Eneco Tour

"Today I saw so many of my fans on the road and I gave them an appointment tomorrow at the top of the Muur,” said Lars Boom.

 

"I know very well the course because we will do many of the climbs of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. I’m motivated and I want to give my best.”

 

Mechanical takes Sagan out of contention at the Eneco Tour

The sixth day of the Eneco Tour took in some undulating terrain that would welcome riders back to the road after yesterday's team time trial. While the start of the stage encouraged attacking riding before the bigger climbs of the day, the sprinters were looking to hold out until the end and contest the finish. However, the breakaway had other ideas, just beating the bunch to the line, leaving the sprinters to fight it out for the minor placings, with Peter Sagan crossing the line amongst the bunch a few seconds after the break, after a mechanical in the finale.

 

At the 10km to go mark, while the gap was still sitting at forty-five seconds, the bunch was pulling the break in at a furious pace, and as the race entered its final kilometre and the peloton licking at the heels of the break, it looked like the bunch was going to make the predicted catch, but the escapees just managed to hold out at the front. With all of the fast men wanting to take the win and jostling for position, the UCI World and European Champion, Peter Sagan, eventually crossed the line in 45th. He holds onto the points leader’s jersey ahead of the Tour’s finale with a healthy advantage over his rivals.


Sagan was quick to thank the team, who had all ridden so hard during the day, after what was an unlucky outcome.

 

“I’d like to thank the team for their effort today. They worked hard in the peloton but unfortunately a mechanical in the last few hundred metres prevented me from going for the sprint. The breakaway took the stage today, but that’s cycling though and these things can happen. There aren’t any changes in the GC and we still have another day left. We will again take our chances and try to achieve the best result possible.”

 

"I will be happy tomorrow, because then it's done. Then I can finally go home to rest. We'll see tomorrow what I can do.”

 

From the finish, the team’s Sport Director, Tristan Hoffman, knew today was going to be a hard day.

 

"We saw again today that it's a hard race here. In the zone of climbs we couldn't go too early but in the end the peloton came up short. We decided to go full gas in the final, but missed a bit of horsepower in the chase. Chapeau to the guys in front - they worked hard out there.”

 

Hoffman was taking each day as it came, well aware that the nature of the race could change day by day.

 

“We didn't get the result we wanted and missed the seconds, but have to be realistic. Two days ago was the opposite and we caught the break at the finish, but not today. Peter unfortunately had a mechanical in the sprint so couldn't get a result but we have another chance tomorrow.”

 

It’s another hilly day for the riders tomorrow as the race enters its final day. The 197.8km route saves the best – or at least, the hardest – until last, and is the most challenging of the race, with a spiky profile that features some sharp and tough climbs that will really challenge the GC riders. The finale takes in a finishing circuit ridden three times before the uphill finish brings the race to a close.

 

As the race – and the racing season – nears its close, Hoffman was looking ahead to the team’s strategy for the last day of the Eneco Tour.

 

“I can see the boys are feeling it now - it's been a long season and they've worked hard this week. Tomorrow will be D-Day. It's really hard in the final with the Muur and BMC is very strong and has options, but we will give it our everything, and of course Peter will go for it.”

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