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Solid week of racing for ORICA-SCOTT comes to a close at the BinckBank Tour

Sun 13 Aug 2017

Tour of Belgium winner Jens Keukeleire fought hard on the final stage of the BinckBank Tour in Belgium today, up repeated ascents of the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen to finish with the leading group as the race drew to a close.

A hard final stage wrapped up a difficult week for ORICA-SCOTT with solid work by Michael Hepburn, Alex Edmondson and Mitch Docker keeping Keukeleire in a good position for the ascents up the Muur before the final stage blew apart.

The attacks peppered the finale and Keukeleire did well to stay with the leaders as they chased behind lone leader Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo). A lack of cohesion in the chase saw Stuyven hold out for the stage win with Tom Dumoulin (Team-Sunweb) sealing the overall victory.

A fast and challenging week of racing began with consistent top ten performances in the sprints from Magnus Cort after lead-outs from Docker and Roger Kluge.

Whilst a strong collective team showing on stage five saw Keukeleire move into the top ten overall before Saturday’s brutal stage in the Ardennes, the stage that turned much of the race on it’s head and set up the win for Dumoulin.

“After the way the stage played out yesterday it lifted some pressure from the guys today and we were able to have a go and try to get something out of the race,” said sport director Laurenzo Lapage. “When you slip a little on GC you maybe get a bit more freedom to attack and we thought we might have a chance with Jens over the Muur, but it came back together.”

“In hindsight it probably isn’t ideal coming overnight straight from a hard race like the European Championships into racing here for a week, it definitely takes a toll and we saw it with Jens over the last two days. Sometimes the legs don’t do what the head wants them to do.

“Overall it has been a solid week of racing for us, we came close a couple of times in the sprints with Magnus and that stands him in good stead for the upcoming Vuelta a Espana whilst other guys will prep for the one day races and then World Championships.

“It has been a tough race, the last three days have been like classics in their own right and against some of the best riders in the world, it is always good to racing against top competition and despite the result, you can always take positives away from a race like this.”

How it happened:

The tension was palpable on today’s final stage in Belgium with the breakaway taking a while to form and then never really gaining much time on the peloton.

Nine riders made the move and after 60kilometres had a holding lead of two minutes on the bunch.

The leaders maintained two minutes on the peloton through the middle of the race, with 55kilometres to go and on the first climb up the Muur van Geraardsbergen the lead started to fall as Bora-Hansgrohe upped the pace.

Keukeleire and ORICA-SCOTT were positioned nicely at the front of the bunch the first time up the Muur as the break started to split into three groups and the peloton closing quickly.

The remaining riders were caught by the attack of Sagan the second time up the Muur as the World Champion shook apart the head of the race.

A select group of around 45riders came together into the final 20kilometres after a chase behind Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Keukeleire was part of the group as fresh, rolling attacks continued into the closing kilometres.

Stuyven took advantage of a lull in proceedings and a lack of cooperation to solo away into the final three kilometres and take the stage victory with Dumoulin holding on for the overall race win.

BinckBank Tour stage seven results:

1. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) 04.06:48

2. Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step-Floors) 00:0:01

3. Tom Dumoulin (Team-Sunweb) ST

24. Jens Keukeleire (ORICA-SCOTT) 00:00:12

Final general classification:

1. Tom Dumoulin (Team-Sunweb) 24:34:33

2. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) 00:00:17

3. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) 00:00:46

13. Jens Keukeleire (ORICA-SCOTT) 00:02:37

Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com

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