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Showing surprisingly good sprinting skills, Terpstra beat Sinkeldam and van Poppel in the bunch sprint at the end of the Dutch road race championships

Photo: Sirotti

DANNY VAN POPPEL

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NATIONAL CHAMPIONSSHIPS

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NIKI TERPSTRA

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RAMON SINKELDAM

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28.06.2015 @ 19:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) took his third Dutch road race title when he emerged as a surprise winner in the bunch sprint in the road race championships. Despite having no teammates at his side, he beat top sprinters Ramon Sinkeldam (Giant-Alpecin) and Danny van Poppel (Trek) into the minor podium positons.

 

With a completely flat course in Emmen, most expected the Dutch road race championships to come down to a bunch sprint. Hence, most pointed to Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo), Ramon Sinkeldam (Giant-Alpecin), Danny van Poppel (Trek) and Wouter Wippert (Drapac) as the favourites but they were all beaten when the expected bunch kick would decide the winner.

 

Niki Terpstra had no teammates at his side but he still manage to beat the faster riders on the wet roads in Emmen. He distanced Ramon Sinkeldam and Danny van Poppel in a very close finish, clearly benefiting from the long distance that had taken its toll.

 

With the win, Terpstra now has three road race titles on his palmares and will wear the champion’s jersey for the next 12 months. However, he won’t be present at the Tour de France and instead he will show his colours for the home public at the Eneco Tour which is the next major event on Dutch soil.

 

How It unfolded

The 2015 edition of the Dutch road race championships were held on a 253.1km course around the city of Emmen. First the riders did an opening section of 122km before they ended the race by doing 10 laps of a 13.1km circuit in the city. The roads were completely flat and so a sprint was widely expected.

 

It was a nice, sunny day in the Netherlands when the riders gathered for the start to find out who will wear the Dutch champion’s jersey during the next 12 months. They got it off to a fast start and the many attacks quickly made the peloton split into three groups.

 

A regrouping took place and the attacking continued but no one had managed to escape after 22.5km. The elastic finally snapped when Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Reinier Honig (Roompot), Bram Nolten (Parkhotel), Gert-Jan Bosman (Jo Piels), Patrick van Leeuwen (Jo Piels), Kobus Hereijgers (Rabobank), Daan Meijers (De Rijke) and Rene Hooghiemster (Baby Dump) got clear. They quickly got an advantage of 30 seconds which prompted the peloton to slow down.

 

The advantage was constantly growing and with 200km to go, it was already 7 minutes. As they crossed the line for the first time, it had gone out to a massive 12 minutes.

 

As they started the first lap of the finishing circuit, the gap was 16.40 after it had reached a maximum of 17.40. It took some time for the peloton to get going but finally they started to reduce the deficit.

 

With 9 laps to go, the gap was 13.10 and it was Peter Koning (Drapac) who was working for teammate Wouter Wippert. However, they gap was still 12.30 as they entered the final 100km.

 

Tom Stamsnijder was now also working for Giant-Alpecin and this made the peloton steadily get closer. With 58km to go, the gap was down to 6.18 but things were still looking promising for the escapees.

 

With 4 laps to go, the gap was 5.45 and now the attacking started from the peloton. Jesper Asselman (Roompot) and Ronan van Zandbeek (De Rijke) took off and quickly gained a minute on the peloton which was still 4.55 behind at this point.

 

There was not much cooperation in the peloton with 3 laps to go when Asselman and van Zandbeek was still more than 4 minutes behind. Finally, Giant-Alpecin and Cannondale started to chase seriously and as there was also no collaboration in the front group, the gap was melting away.

 

Asselman and van Zandbeek were brought back before the start of the penultimate lap where the gap was still 3 minutes. Cannondale were doing most of the work and were riding much faster than the break.

 

Lindeman attacked from the front group but Honig brought him back. Moments latr, Hooghiemster and Meijers crashed out of the front group.

 

At the start of the final lap, the gap was only 30 seconds and it was Dylan van Baarle who worked hard for Cannondale. Heavy rain was now falling and this made the finale treacherous.

 

The front group was brought back and instead Michael Vingerling (3M) tried. He had no luck and was brought back before Dennis van Winden (LottoNL-Jumbo) went down in a crash

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