Ewan just outside the top ten after tight sprint on opening stage of the Eneco Tour

Mon 19 Sep 2016

Tour of Britain stage winner Caleb Ewan finished just outside the top ten in 12th place after a chaotic finale led to a closely contested sprint on stage one of the Eneco Tour in Holland today.

ORICA-BikeExchange rode a controlled race throughout, contributing significantly to the chase and catch of the five-man breakaway before positioning Ewan for the finale.

In the end, the sprint was a scrappy and chaotic affair that finally spluttered into life after the last corner into the finishing straight.

Around fifteen riders jumped early with Dylan Groenwegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) taking the win and Ewan suffering slightly from being boxed in.

Sport director Laurenzo Lapage was pleased with the overall performance of the team.

“After a hectic finale I’m pleased that all our guys came through without any problems,” said Lapage. “We rode very well today and we strongly held our position at the front over the final third approaching the finish.”

Michael Matthews and Luka Mezgec were second and last man for Caleb (Ewan) in the lead out and they both did an excellent job of setting up Caleb in the final few hundred metres.

“It was a scrappy finish and we didn’t get the opening we were looking for when the sprint started, you also need some luck in the sprints and today we were a little boxed in.”

How it happened:

A five-man breakaway formed early on the opening stage of the 2016 Eneco Tour, going clear within the first 25kilometres and developing a lead of around four minutes after two hours of racing.

By the halfway point of the stage, the quintet out front was being held at three minutes by the steady tempo of the Etixx-Quickstep and Lotto-Soudal led peloton.

The gap started to reduce going into the final 50kilometres as the speed of the peloton began to increase with Carlos Verona on the front for ORICA-BikeExchange.

Less than two minutes separated the field with 25kilometres to go with ORICA-BikeExchange holding a good position near the front of the peloton and Verona continuing to ride tempo as a few small crashes occurred behind.

Somewhat surprisingly, the five leaders were putting up a good fight holding 30seconds with five kilometres left to race before the catch was finally made two kilometres later.

The battle for position had begun and ORICA-BikeExchange led the charge on the right hand side of the bunch with Katusha and LottoNL-Jumbo pushing through the middle.

The resulting sprint was tight and messy, with Groenwegen taking the win and Ewan, coming from a boxed in position to finish just outside the top ten.

Stage two takes place tomorrow with a 9.6kilometre individual time trial around Breda.

Eneco Tour stage one results:

1. Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) 04:14:00
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) ST
3. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) ST
12. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST

General classification after stage one:

1. Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) 04:13:50
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) 00:00:04
3. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 00:00:04
17. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-BikeExchange) 00:00:10