Eneco Tour concludes with spectacular rain soaked final stageSun 25 Sep 2016
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.”
How it happened:
A fast and controlled start to stage seven saw many attacks try and break free over the first few kilometres without any success and after an hour of racing the peloton was still together.
Eventually a group of nine riders including Verona for ORICA-BikeExchange managed to make something stick and with 100kilometres left to race they had a developing lead of two minutes 45seconds.
The Verona group started to split with 70kilometres to go and the rain now falling heavily as the peloton started to reduce the deficit to less than one minute.
Verona was part of a lead group of five as the race hit the cobbled Muur van Geraardsbergen for the second time with the front of the reducing peloton now only 15seconds behind.
Into the final 50kilometres and the reduced bunch had caught and passed the breakaway with fresh attacks immediately beginning to form.
Bob Jungels and Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep) jumped away with Juul Jensen and four other riders as the weather turned positively Autumnal with falling leaves covering the wet cobblestones.
The Juul Jensen group was 20seconds in front with 40kilometres remaining and the peloton now split into several groups behind the leader.
Boasson-Hagen and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) were now also part of the lead group that had swelled to nine riders with more chasers trying to bridge across.
With 15kilometres left to race four riders were off the front including Boasson-Hagen with Juul Jesen now part of the first chasing group led by Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)
Terpstra, Boasson-Hagen and Oliver Naesen (IAM-Cycling) held a 50second advantage with five kilometres to go and carried it onto the final cobbled climb towards the finish.
Boasson-Hagen launched himself early to take the win with Terpstra holding on for second to seal the overall victory on the general classification.
Eneco Tour stage seven results:
1. Edvald Boasson-Hagen (Dimension-Data) 04:03:27
2. Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep) 00:00:02
3. Oliver Naesen (IAM-Cycling) 00:00:02
14. Chris Juul Jensen (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:58
Final general classification:
1. Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quickstep) 22:43:26
2. Oliver Naesen (IAM-Cycling) 00:00:31
3. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 00:01:00
23. Chris Juul Jensen (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:02:42