Another hectic finale sees Ewan finish in 14th on stage three of the Eneco Tour

Wed 21 Sep 2016

A long and predominantly flat stage three of the Eneco Tour saw 2016 Tour Down Under stage winner Caleb Ewan finish in 14th after a late surge to the line.

ORICA-BikeExchange enjoyed another controlled and straightforward day in the peloton on stage three after a five-man breakaway stayed clear for 170kilometres before being caught only 400metres from the finish.

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) won the stage from the late sprint and moved into second place in the general classification behind race leader Rohan Dennis (BMC) with Michael Matthews the best placed rider overall for ORICA-BikeExchange in 27th.

Sport director Laurenzo Lapage was pleased with the team and the progress Ewan is making at such a young age.

“The team rode intelligently again today,” said Lapage. “We saw from the situation with the breakaway that there was a little gambling taking place from the sprinter's teams and the catch came very late on.”

“It was a nervous finale and to be in a position to contest the top ten you needed to be right on the front line going into the final corner at 150metres, otherwise it wasn’t going to be possible to come around for the sprint.

“Caleb (Ewan) is fighting everyday, sometimes we forget how young he still is and yet here he is competing against older and more experienced sprinters and lead out men who are all pushing hard and also preparing for the upcoming world championships.

“Every race and every sprint is more valuable experience for Caleb, we are all very confident of his ability. He is one of the fastest guys in the peloton and the other sprinters are aware of that.

“There is no pressure, we keep trying everyday and there are some hard days and lots of aggressive racing still to come."

How it happened:

After two days of racing in Holland today saw the peloton make their way into sunny Belgium via the North Sea coastline.

A five-man attack broke clear over the first 30kilometres of stage three and instantly began to develop an advantage, stretching out past three minutes after an hour of racing.

Past the halfway point and into the last 90kilometres of the stage and the five leaders had over six minutes on the peloton with the tempo still steady and controlled.

With less than 60kilometres to race the peloton started to increase the urgency and began to reduce the gap to the leaders, which was holding at two minutes 30seconds.

The situation remained under control with the leaders fluctuating between two and three minutes until inside the final 30kilometres when the lead fell below two minutes.

Etixx-Quickstep and Lotto-Soudal were doing most of the chasing as the sprinter's teams started to mass at the front of the peloton as they entered the first of two finishing circuits in Ardooie.

However, with only ten kilometres left to race the five leaders were still out front with over a minute on the bunch, the catch, if it happened, was going to be tight.

Katusha and Cofidis were now leading the charge and going into the last five kilometres, discord in the leader's group saw them miss the chance to stay clear as they were caught painfully close with only 400metres to go.

Sagan won the sprint from another messy finish with Ewan again coming from behind and boxed in to finish in 14th place.

Stage four takes place tomorrow covering 202kilometres from Aalter to St-Pieters-Leeuw.

Eneco Tour stage three results:

1. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 04:10:36
2. Danny Van Poppel (Team-Sky) ST
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) ST
14. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST

General classification after stage three:

1. Rohan Dennis (BMC) 08:35:24
2. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 00:00:03
3. Jos Van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) 00:00:05
27. Michael Matthews (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:24