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"We were aware of the fact that we had several cards to play in the general classification at the start of the day and we were keen to make use of these numbers."

Photo: Etixx-QuickStep / Tim De Waele


25.09.2016 @ 22:13 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) turned a disappointing race around when he took a beautiful victory on the Muur van Geraardsbergen in the final stage of the Eneco Tour. In a true Flemish classic held under torrential rain, the Norwegian survived the gradual elimination and finally beat Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) and Oliver Naesen (IAM) in a 2-rider sprint. Rohan Dennis (BMC) crashed on the slippery roads and instead Terpstra win the race ahead of Naesen and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff).


We have gathered several reaction.


Terpstra: We wanted to use our strength in numbers to put BMC on the defensive

Rain, cobblestones and a tough course with 17 hills made for a psychedelic picture on Sunday, when the 12th edition of the Eneco Tour wrapped up after one of the most thrilling stages in its history. The day started under a blue sunny sky, but things changed dramatically in the afternoon, when the rain made the roads really slippery and split the group, before taking out of the race general classification leader Rohan Dennis (BMC), who crashed inside the last 50 kilometers.


On the second of the three laps the peloton had to cover in the final part of the punishing stage 7 (Bornem – Geraardsbergen, 197.8 kilometers), Luxembourg champion Bob Jungels attacked and forced an important selection. The newly-formed group, that included also Niki Terpstra, quickly opened on the chasers a gap of 20 seconds, which continued to grow thanks to the tremendous pace setting of an indefatigable Bob Jungels, who pushed the pedal to the metal and played a decisive role in the outcome of the week-long race.


Victorious in Le Samyn and Dwars door het Hageland this season, both wins which came in atrocious weather conditions, Niki Terpstra was the main engine of that small group after Jungels’ job was done and spent a huge amount of energy at the front, taking the Golden Kilometer bonus seconds and taming the cobbles of the Muur-Kapelmuur and Bosberg, two climbs which throughout the years witnessed how legends were born and dreams got shattered.


His glittering display under a sky full of tumultuous, dark and ragged clouds, coming straight from a painting of fellow Dutchman Jacob Abels, helped 32-year-old Niki Terpstra overall honors at the end of the grueling stage which he concluded in second place, behind Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data).


"I'm extremely happy and proud to finish off this great job of the team, who was incredible today! The Muur van Geraardsbergen has a special place in cycling and it means a lot for me to seal the overall victory here. We were aware of the fact that we had several cards to play in the general classification at the start of the day and we were keen to make use of these numbers", said Terpstra, who rode into contention following the excellent display of the squad in Friday's team time trial.


The second Etixx – Quick-Step rider to win the Eneco Tour, an event in which he came third at the 2012 edition, the Dutchman explained how he nabbed the team's 52nd victory of the season:


"When it started to rain, we were already on the attack and we gave it our all to keep the advantage. We rode a really smart race today and Bob did a fantastic job at the front, so I must thank him for his huge pace setting. In the closing kilometers of the stage, my focus was to stay with the other riders and make sure I win this beautiful race, which I did in the end. It's a great day in my career.


"Attacking was our intention. With five riders within a minute of the GC lead, we were in an ideal situation. On the second ascent of the Muur, BMC and Tinkoff clearly struggled in the rain. That's when we decided to attack.


"Of course we tried to put BMC on the defensive. But it happened a little earlier than planned. When we did the Muur for the second time, they were already in difficulty. I thought ’Boemtsjakkaboemtjsakkaboem’


"But we were already on the attack when Dennis fell. It was annoying for him, but for us it was a great advantage. When I rode with Boasson Hagen and Naesen, I would not bet on two horses. I did not take too many risks because I wanted to secure the victory. The bonus seconds that I had gained along the way, gave me necessary guarantees.


"I didn't want to bet on two horses. I just didn't want to take the risk and the other two guys were really strong as well. I mainly tried to take the overall victory."

"I went to Verona to specifically prepare for the Eneco Tour and the world championships. The team time trial played to our advantage and I knew something was possible here. It's fantastic to take the overall win here in Geraardsbergen. The Muur is a mythical place in cycling and I'm pretty proud of this victory against such an impressive field.


"Because of my summer injury I was able to focus well on the autumn. I have done the Vuelta with an eye on this Eneco Tour and the World Championships and it's great that it work out. Winning in Geraardsbergen is perfect. It's still a special place in cycling.”


Besides Niki Terpstra, also Zdenek Stybar (7th) and Bob Jungels (10th) finished the Eneco Tour on a high note, helping Etixx – Quick-Step win the teams classification for the fourth time.


Lefevere: It was a typical victory for smart Terpstra

"It was a typical Terpstra victory", Etixx-Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad. "On such a course, he can wait until the right time. Niki is smart and very experienced.


"He has done the Vuelta to be ready for this race and the Worlds. He is a rider who can push the team to great heights.”


It was not all good for Etixx-QuickStep


"Marcel failed and Tom crashed. Before the Worlds, he will still do three races." 

Boasson Hagen: This makes up for the failed GC

Edvald Boasson Hagen won an epic final stage of the Eneco Tour. The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka rider was able to beat his 2 final breakaway companions to the line in Geraardsbergen, Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep) and Oliver Naesen (IAM Cycling) respectively.


With 52km to go, the peloton came through the finish-line and the African Team had been doing well to position Boasson Hagen at the front of the pack at all the key moments. When the race hit the Bosberg at 46km to go, the race exploded and Boasson Hagen was perfectly placed to play his part at the front of the race. A big attack of 6 riders went over the top as the early break had faltered. Boasson Hagen wasn’t part of that initial split but almost immediately he jumped across with 2 others to form a lead group of 9. The overall favourites, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Dennis had missed the split and so Terpstra had the most to gain and with him and his Etixx teammate, Bob Jungels driving the pace at the front.


From the original 9 man select group up front, only 3 survived to take on the last 10km. Boasson Hagen, Terpstra and Naesen pushed on to the finish in Geraardsbergen with the Sagan chase group some 48″ behind. On the final 1km climb to the line, Boasson Hagen showed he had enough left in the tank to take a fine victory ahead of Terpstra and Naesen.


Edvald Boasson Hagen said:

“I am really happy with how the stage went today. I was always in the right place at the key moments thanks to my team. The race was hard but that suited me well.


”I was feeling strong but the wet made the race difficult so you had to stay focused. We got away with a very strong group and it was important to not waste energy.


“I came to Eneco with the goal of possibly winning a stage and the overall but the overall didn’t go to plan. So I was really motivated to win today’s stage.


”I knew Terpstra would be going for the overall so I tried to ride clever, using that to my advantage but Naesen was there and he was very strong. In the final I tried save all I could for the last 200m. I am happy it was enough to win the stage.


Edvald Boasson Hagen has succeeded Greg Van Avermaet and Manuel Quinziato by winning in Geraardsbergen. The Norwegian champion took his ninth victory this season after a tense finale.

After finishing fourth in Bolsward and eighth in Lanaken, Boasson Hagen finally managed to get his win and he did it in style in Geraarsbergen, a town steeped in cycling mythology. 


"I felt really strong and came here to fight for the overall victory, but we lost too much time in the team trial," the Dimension Data rider said. "This stage win makes up for it. Winning on a mythical place like the Muur, that's just fantastic. The rain made it very tough with slippery cobbles, so I tried to stay in the front as much as possible."


”It was been a while since I last won. That gives it more value, especially in such a special place as Geraardsbergen. The danger lurked around every corner and it was truly an art to stay upright. It was very dangerous on the wet cobblestones.


At the end the Norwegian beat Dutchman Niki Terpstra and Belgian Oliver Naesen for the victory.


"That Belgian was very strong," Boasson Hagen said. "I tried to save as much energy as possible for the final kilometre. Maybe the sprint looked easy, but it certainly wasn't. I had to go all the way and didn't want to look back.

"I came to win a stage. It finally succeeded on the final day. In the last kilometer I did not want to spend too much energy in order to surprise the rest. In the last two hundred meters I went past everyone as I had anticipated. I saw that Oliver Naesen was very strong and so I kept an extra eye on him. My tactic paid off. "


In three weeks from now Qatar will host the world championships. Boasson Hagen seems to be ready to perform in the Gulf state.


"In that kind of race anything is possible. My last victory was a while ago, so this gives me a lot of confidence for Qatar."


Naesen: I was certain that I was the strongest rider

Oliver Naesen said:


“My generosity penalized me, but that is also a trademark of my style, with which I have also managed to win races. Up until we passed under the flamme rouge, I was certain I was the strongest of the group.


“I wasn’t hesitating when attacking. I took my responsibilities and went to the front of the group. It cost me strength for the final sprint where I really pushed myself without ever really catching back up to the winner Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data).”


Manager Rik Verbrugghe added:


"Michel Thétaz, founder of IAM Cycling, can be proud of his troops. Ever since it was announced that the team would be folding, the guys have stood in solidarity, and have given their best to finish the season in style. Oliver Naesen’s two trips to the podium today proves that fact.”


IAM Cycling has earned 56 podium finishes that since the beginning of the season, the most ever earned by the Swiss professional team that started racing in January 2013.


Suffering from bronchitis since the beginning of the race, Martin Elmiger was forced to abandon the race Sunday morning before the start of the stage in Bornem.


Frustrated Sagan: Cycling is unfair

Less than thirty seconds separated the top five of the GC going into the final day of the Eneco Tour, and with Peter Sagan sitting just off the top three, the UCI World and European Champion would be aiming for a podium place. However, on what was already a hard day, the wet weather caused treacherous conditions. The Slovakian rider powered through to take sixth on the stage and move up to claim his podium spot,finishing third in the GC and claiming the points classification for the race.


The UCI World Champion had worked hard throughout the stage, but found it hard to get other riders to work with him.


"A very hard race came to an end with a very hard stage that was made even tougher because of the rain. I'm lucky I didn't crash. I finished on the podium of the Eneco Tour but it could have been better. Nevertheless, it was difficult to race against everybody else. I wanted to close the gap and come back to the front group but nobody wanted to collaborate. There is nothing I can do, that's cycling but I'm happy I always do my best.


"It was a very tough race, also because of the the weather. I was still trying to come back from the but no one worked. I did my best but everyone rode here to get beaten and not to win. I do not understand that. Cycling is unfair.


“Why should I be sad? I won everything I could win, nothing changed today. I scored a lot of points for the UCI ranking and won more than anyone else here.”


The question remains whether Sagan will defend his world title in Qatar. "We still see, I still think about it. It was a long season and I'm glad it's almost over. I'm tired," he concluded


Looking back on the stage, Sport Director Tristan Hoffman had nothing but praise for the team leader after his hard efforts today.


“Everything came back together on the final circuit, then Etixx started to attack. Peter got really close to the front group but it was all up to him. He did a fantastic job as he had to keep pushing all day. All the boys did a fantastic job – they gave everything today. Peter moves up to 3rd on GC, which was a nice reward. I believe this was the maximum we could get out of today.”


After a slow start to the race, the break’s performance was pivotal in how the stage and the race overall unfolded, continued Hoffman.


"It took a long time for break to get away early on, then when went it went we put four guys on the front to work, nobody else wanted to work so the guys had to ride hard. At one moment he was virtual leader, but it was always going to be hard. He gave a lot today and did a fantastic race. We hoped for the win but 3rd is a strong result."


Sagan’s strong performance at the race also helped him to reclaim the top spot of the UCI WorldTour points classification.


“I'm also very happy that, although I didn't win the Eneco Tour, my third place gives me a lot of points to regain my leadership at the UCI WorldTour individual ranking. It's been a long season and I will now get some needed rest."


Dennis crashes out of the Eneco Tour on disastrous day for BMC

An unfortunate crash in the final 50km of Eneco Tour stage 7 saw Rohan Dennis go down and lose his chance of defending his race lead, eventually having to abandon the race.


Dennis started the day with a 16-second lead over teammate Taylor Phinney and 24 seconds over Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep).


When the crash occurred Rohan Dennis was part of a group of General Classification favorites who had just gone off the front of the peloton to chase a 9-rider breakaway.


Dennis went down on his right side and was forced to wait a long time for a new bike as the race cars were coming out of a diverted section.


Phinney and Greg Van Avermaet, who was eighth overall at the stage start, forged on ahead while Joey Rosskopf, Manuel Quinziato, Tom Bohli and Stefan Küng worked hard to try and bring Dennis back to the bunch.


They reached a large group of riders but were already 1’20” down on the race leaders, which proved too big a margin to claw back. Suffering from his crash, Dennis was forced to abandon on the final lap.


Meanwhile ahead different groups of riders attacked while Van Avermaet put in a gutsy chase behind. It came down to a 3-rider sprint for the line, won by Edvald Boasson-Hagen, and Van Avermaet sprinted to fifth place in the group behind.


Van Avermaet moved up into fourth place overall to salvage BMC Racing Team’s day of bad luck after a successful week of racing, which included Dennis’ stage 2 ITT win and the team time trial win.


Sports director Fabio Baldato said:


“At first we didn’t know that Rohan had crashed as it wasn’t on the radio. We saw a second of it on television but then there was a car diversion so we couldn’t get there quickly. When we arrived we gave him a new bike and the riders were already organized to wait for him. We did our best and we still had Greg Van Avermaet and Taylor Phinney in the front group. Immediately afterwards there was a crash on the downhill and Greg was caught behind. It was at this time that the winning move went from this group. If Greg had been able to stay with them maybe we would have had a chance at the stage win, even if the overall race was lost. Today everything went wrong.


“When you look at the week as a whole it was still a good week of racing with our two stage wins, but it’s disappointing to see such a good week end like this. We take confidence and good morale out of the team time trial ahead of the UCI World Championships so now we have to move forward and look to this next goal.”


Dr. Dario Spinelli said:


“Rohan Dennis suffered a crash with around 50km to go on the slippery road just after a cobbled section. He went down on his right side and suffered multiple abrasions to his arm and leg. Apart from the cuts and bruises there does not appear to be any other serious injuries and he should be fine after a couple of days’ rest and recovery. We’ll know more in the next two days when we see how he pulls up.”


Crashes costly for Van Avermaet on epic day in Flandes

Greg Van Avermaet said:


“It was a really hard day. We were unlucky with the crash of Rohan and with this crash everything blew up a little bit. I was behind him so I also had to catch back some groups. I was also caught behind another crash which killed my chances a bit. I never made it to the first group but I think I took the maximum out of it with what I still had in me at that point. But it was not a good day for us because we had such a good position before the stage. We lost a lot of places but that’s how it is. I did the best I could and to end up fourth on GC is not bad.


“I didn’t feel great this week but I didn’t feel bad either. Today was a really hard day with the rain and the risks that we had to take, but I’ll just try to recover a little bit before the UCI World Championships which is my last big goal for the season.”


Confident Dumoulin: I was one of the strongest

Team Giant-Alpecin riders were again on the attack on the seventh and final stage of the Eneco Tour as Roy Curvers made the day’s early breakaway before Tom Dumoulin went on the attack in the finale to race to fourth place under tough and wet weather conditions.


Roy Curvers got away early in the stage with eight others and the day’s breakaway set about building an advantage of up to three minutes. However, everything came back together before hitting the repeated climbs of the Muur van Geraardsbergen with 50km remaining.


In the finale, a group four riders broke clear and would eventually stay away. Behind this group, John Degenkolb and Tom Dumoulin broke clear in a select chase group that attempted to close the gap to the leaders. It was a great effort from Tom Dumoulin to race to fourth place and he finished ninth in the GC.


Tom Dumoulin said after the stage:


“I had good legs today but I missed the pre-final attack which managed to stay away. I think I was one of the strongest in the first chasing group but it was not meant to be to play for the win. Like you see from the results, I took 4th place from the group and that gives me plenty of confidence for the World Championships. However, results wise we hoped for more today and this week, but sometimes it is just like that.”


Coach Morten Bennekou added:


“John and Tom had both really good legs today. In a critical moment when around nine riders got away, Tom decided to wait in the group of Peter Sagan and in the end it was not the right decision. It would have been better to go with that group because the riders made it to the finish. He finished 4th on the stage and in 9th place overall. In general, we are pleased with the performance of the team and we are happy to gain WorldTour points.”


Loyal domestique Van Emden grabs rare chance to ride for himself with fifth place at the Eneco Tour

Team LottoNL-Jumbo finished fifth and sixth overall in the Eneco Tour overall with Jos van Emden and Wilco Kelderman, respectively. They rounded out a successful week that included a stage win by Dylan Groenewegen. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) won the final stage to Geraardsbergen and Niki Terpstra (Etixx) took the overall win.


"A fifth place in this playing field is good, no doubt, but it sucks to only come a few seconds from the podium,” van Emden said. “I can only be satisfied with this result. This was one of the big goals for me this season."


In the rainy seventh stage, Boasson Hagen managed to beat overall winner Terpstra and Oliver Naesen (IAM). Wilco Kelderman finished seventh 47 seconds later and Jos van Emden came eighth two seconds later. In the GC, van Emden rose from sixth place. He finished with a gap of 1-03 minutes behind overall winner Terpstra. Wilco Kelderman rose from 10th, back 1-11.


"It was a tough day with lots of different situations,” van Emden added. “We were in a position that it seemed our GC was over, but along with Wilco, we fought back in to the race.


"It was different for me to only think about myself. Normally, I ride for our leaders and now, it was the other way around. That it succeeded at this level gives me confidence for years to come. "


”It was a tough day, I'm glad I didn’t go down,” Kelderman. “A large group containing the best riders attacked, and Jos and I could not follow. Then we knew we had to go full-gas on De Muur to close the gap. It succeeded. We aimed to fight for the overall, and we succeeded. It is a little disappointing that we were so close to the podium and it makes you wonder what you could have done differently.


"It is nice to ride for Jos. The whole year he rides himself empty for us. It’s good to see it the other way around.”


Kelderman also fought for the overall, but he knew that without the Ardennes stage like normal, it would be difficult to win.


"I rode a good Eneco Tour, but it was disappointing that I could not follow the best today because if so, we could’ve seen a better result."


"This result does justice to the riders,” Sports Director Merijn Zeeman said. “The team time trial ensured that Boasson Hagen could not pass us in the general classification.


"The nice thing about this result is that we fought all week as a team, the stage results show it: two men in the GC and Groenewegen beat the world’s best sprinters. Jos van Emden also notched a second place in the time trial and for the first time in years, we finished on the podium in the team time trial. As a sports director, I’m satisfied.”


Sütterlin: This gives me hope that I can finish on the podium in the cobbled monuments

It was a day of hope and happiness for the Movistar Team at the end of the Eneco Tour. Both feelings were provoked by a sensational Jasha Sütterlin, who made the Spanish outfit dream of a GC podium finish up until the end of a spectacular stage seven in the Flemish Ardennes. The 198km course between Bornem and Geraardsbergen, featuring 14 hills - most of them on cobblestones - and the rain-soaked ascents through the Bosberg, the Denderoordberg and the mythical Kapelmuur, offered a brilliant day of cycling, which the Movistar Team was a protagonist of.


The early, long break by Winner Anacona, caught with 50km to go after the second climb of the ‘Muur’, was quickly continued by Sütterlin, who entered an eight-man attempt later reduced to four elements following the third ascent to Grammont. Naesen (IAM), Boasson Hagen (DDD) and Terpstra (EQS) ‘tortured’ the German youngster, putting all his heart on the flat sections as he struggled on the climbs, ultimately losing contact during the last passage of the Denderoordberg just 6km from the end. Behind the Izagirre brothers battled, joined until the last ‘Muur’ passage by Erviti; Ion offered the Blues the best result of the day, with a 9th place that set him in 8th place in the final GC. Sütterlin was 11th in the race, after being chased down and dropped by the group led by Peter Sagan (TNK).


The rainbow jersey’s third place overall, behind Terpstra and Naesen, allows him to pass Nairo Quintana in the individual UCI WorldTour standings (669 vs 609), while the team ranking gets closer yet not really close between Tinkoff and the Movistar Team, still keeping 70 points (1431 vs 1361) with only one event to go, Il Lombardia (Saturday 1 October). At the ‘Foglie Morte’, giving away 100 points to its winner, the squad managed by Eusebio Unzué will chase a fourth consecutive sucess in the ranking.


Jasha Sütterlin said:


"Today’s stage was like Flanders or Roubaix, and it felt like really important for me to finish on the top today in view for the future, so I’m really happy. I hope next year to come again and chase the big result I came so close to today. I got into a good position in the serious moves during the final 50km; fought against Terpstra, Jungels, Boasson Hagen… and tried to finish in the top ten, even after I saw that I was dropped on the last climb, but in those final kilometers, I was really feeling dead tired. In the future, I will work hard to improve my condition in such races and maybe close in on podiums in Flanders or Roubaix. That’s one of my main goals as a pro, and today gave me a feeling like I might be able to make it true in the upcoming years."


Bad luck take Boom and Lutsenko out of contention in the Eneco Tour

"Against bad luck there is little to do. We tried to make the race but evidently it was not the right day,” said Astana sport director Paolo Slongo.


The queen stage of the Eneco Tour saw Astana riders looking for the victory before finding the breakaway with Ruslan Tleubayev and then in the end they tried again with Lars Boom and with Alexey Lutsenko.


Unfortunately, both the Dutch and the Kazakh rider crashed without any serious consequences but it ruined their race. Only Dmitry Gruzdev remained with the best and finished in tenth place. 


Aggressive Roompot impress at the Eneco Tour

With riders in the breaks in all road stages, four top fifteen resukt and the unofficial title as most combative team of the Eneco Tour. Roompot - Orange Peloton proved that they deserved their wildcard. "And besides, we were very close to the podium with Jesper Asselman,” sports director Cornelisse said afterwards.


The team leader saw Brian Van Goethem in very first breakaway.  In the sprint Raymond Kreder finished in fourteenth place. Jesper Asselman was close to a coup in Ardooie on stage 3. The breakaway was caught just metres from the line


"It is amazing: 185 kilometers in the lead and then to get caught," Asselman said after his 13th plance.


In a small version of the Brabantse Pijl on Thursday Van Goethem and Sjoerd van Ginneken were in the break. Raymond Kreder sprinted to fourteenth place. After the disappointing team time trial around Sittard, Berden de Vries was in the winning break on stage six. Unfortunately, he was dropped on one the penultimate climb.


In the final stage to Geraardsbergen, it was again Brian Van Goethem who managed to be in the leading group. In the finale Pieter Weening was with the best for a long time with the best of them. He finished 12th. 


Orica-BikeExchange: This bodes well for Juul’s future in the classics

Chris Juul Jensen wrapped up the 2016 Eneco Tour for ORICA-BikeExchange with 14th place on today’s spectacular final stage after animating the late breakaway over the rain soaked cobblestones.


First new signing Carlos Verona infiltrated the early attack before teammate Juul Jensen jumped clear with the second breakaway as today’s final stage split over the wet cobbled climbs, before a select trio went on to contest the finale.


Edvald Boasson-Hagen (Dimension-Data) won the stage with Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep) taking the overall race victory.


26-year-old Juul Jensen finished 14th from the chasing group and was also the best rider overall for ORICA-BikeExchange in 23rd on the general classification.


A solid week of racing across parts of Holland and Belgium saw the Australian outfit achieve a top ten result on stage four with Slovenian lead out specialist Luka Mezgec.


Whilst Michael Matthews and Caleb Ewan both experienced some frustration in the sprints after being involved in untimely crashes on the approach to the finale on stage four, the young team gained some valuable experience from the seven day race.


Sport director Laurenzo Lapage praised the efforts of the young squad over the course of the race and spoke of the importance of learning from the experience.


“We tried to be aggressive and get something started today,” said Lapage. “We had Carlos (Verona) in the first break and then Chris (Juul Jensen) was part of the attack that the winning move came from. It is important to try and we certainly did that.


“It is a tough race and the wet conditions made it even tougher today, Chris did very well to continue being aggressive in a very elite group that contested the finale and his performance bodes well for next year.


“Things could have gone better earlier in the race, but we have a very young squad here and the experience they have gained is invaluable so we leave with some positives


“Racing in northern Europe is very difficult and it’s vitally important that we take on board what we have learnt here this week and that we understand how tough it can be, especially on stages like today that correctly reproduce the racing conditions of the Spring Classics.”


Lotto Soudal: We had expected more from the Eneco Tour

The Eneco Tour was cut out for the sprinters. However, Lotto Soudal had to wait until the fourth stage for a good result when Peter Sagan beat André Greipel in a very close sprint. The day after, the team rode a very strong team time trial in Sittard. They finished as sixth behind teams that are known for their team time trial skills. Unfortunately the team had some bad luck with the crash of Marcel Sieberg in the penultimate stage. The German rider had to abandon the race with a fracture in his collarbone.

On the last day, the team again demonstrated its strength. First Tim Wellens joined the early breakaway. He pulled through as long as he could and once he was reeled in, André Greipel rode along with the right attack into the finale with among others Terpstra, Boasson Hagen and Naesen. The rain made the roads very slippery which caused several riders to crash.  Greipel went down but that didn’t keep him from riding a very strong race. He caught up with the chasing group including Jens Debusschere. Even though both Lotto Soudal riders tried to close the gap with the first group, they didn’t get any closer to the leaders.. Debusschere and Greipel got fifteenth and twentieth.  Greipel ends up as sixteenth in the general classification.


Herman Frison, sports director, said: 


“With this team, we expected more from this Eneco Tour. We had a strong classical team at the start and I really hoped for a stage win or for a top ten place in the GC. We knew that the race would be different this year, but with the classic core of the team we should have definitely been able to compete for a win and for a good GC. If Greipel hadn’t fallen today, he might have finished closer and thus closer to the top ten in the overall classification. All week long we missed some opportunities so we never really competed for a good result. On Thursday we were very close to a victory. That day as well as the team time trial were satisfying. Also today Debusschere and Greipel showed themselves and the riders with world championships ambitions were able to work on their condition and they got some extra race rhythm for a possible selection.”


No glory for Kristoff in Flanders

Team KATUSHA’s Alexander Kristoff was supported throughout the day by teammate Nils Politt, Aleksandr Porsev, Marco Haller, Michael Mørkøv and others. Nils Politt was able to stay with the Norwegian rider in front until he lost ground on the Muur and couldn’t come back again, finally arriving in a second chasing group.  Kristoff became the best KATUSHA rider in the final classification, taking 27th place (+2.54).


Tire mystery destroys the day for Trek on final day at the Eneco Tour

The Eneco Tour ended Sunday with the hardest stage of the seven-day race, and when the rain started in the last 65 kilometers of the 197.8-kilometer stage, the race turned upside-down.


The wet roads and slick cobbled climbs split the peloton, with many riders sliding out in slippery corners. With 41 kilometers to go, a leading group of nine riders shaped that included Boy Van Poppel, and Trek-Segafredo appeared to be in a good position.


Meanwhile, race leader Rohan Dennis (BMC), chasing in the second group not far behind, crashed and later would abandon.


The nine leaders continued to build a lead under the treacherous conditions as a strong pursuit group formed behind.


Then disaster hit for Trek-Segafredo. Van Poppel lost traction in a roundabout, crashing hard and ending his race out front.


The leading group ultimately whittled down to three and the trio survived to the finish to contest the stage win, and the top three spots in the overall classification saw a complete upheaval.  Edward Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) took the stage honors, while Nikki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step) finished in second place and claimed the overall win.


Jasper Stuyven, Fabio Felline, and Giacomo Nizzolo were riding strongly in the peloton, but the entire team struggled with its tires in the wet conditions - an unexplained and bizarre situation since the team used the same tubulars as usual - making the climb up the famed Muur van Geraardsbergen nearly impossible to navigate.


"It was not our day, just not our day; they could not stay on their bike, all six were the same," exclaimed a puzzled director Dirk Demol. "They all said it was impossible to guide their bikes. It was slippery for the whole peloton, of course, there were other crashes as well, but when Boy crashed, he said he did nothing special, he was not taking any risks at all, and the tires just slipped away.


"We used the same tubulars we always use, and we cannot understand or find the reason why they could not handle their bikes when it started to rain. When it is one guy saying this, then maybe you could say he had bad legs or was on a bad day, but when the whole team has the same comment afterward… Maybe we had too much pressure in the tires? These are the same tires we use in the spring, so it was so strange. We just don't know the answer, but today they could not manage their bikes."


Jasper Stuyven and Fabio Felline were the first of the team to finish, arriving with the decimated peloton and leaving the team empty-handed for the final race after a frustrating week where the team rode well, yet nothing seemed to align in their favor. 


"We did not get the results we wanted this race, which is too bad with some our guys on really good form," added Demol. "It seemed we never had things go our way this week, everyone worked hard, the boys did well, and we just didn't have the luck on our side. I am not disappointed in the boys, just in the results. We have nothing, and we were not riding badly."


Nordhaug on the attack on difficult day for Sky

Lars Petter Nordhaug was active in the early break as the Eneco Tour produced a spectacular finale.


After a long 60-kilometre stretch without a successful breakaway, nine riders finally went clear as the race headed towards Classics country, with the Norwegian ensconced in the move for Team Sky.


The group were never handed much of an advantage by the peloton, and the race came back together through Geraardsbergen and the famous climb of the Muur with two laps to go.


By that time the rain had begun to fall and the race was blown apart on a tough, slick and selective finishing circuit. Team Sky were forced back into the fourth group on the road and Geraint Thomas, Danny van Poppel and Ben Swift worked hard to chase in a cluster of riders which contained overnight leader Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing).


Van Poppel was the first Team Sky rider home in a group 1:50 back.

Van Lerberghe wins sprints jersey at Eneco Tour

Bert Van Lerberghe won the black / green jersey for the Primus sprints.  On Saturday he went deep to score points and even finished third in the stage.


No second win for Lampre-Merida at the Eneco Tour
After the winning breakaway of Pibernik in Saturday’s stage, LAMPRE-MERIDA did not succeed in being represented by one of their riders in the front. Ferrari, Arashiro, Pibernik and Mario Costa were in the main group until 50km to go. Mario Costa reached the finish in 31st position at 1'50".



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