Keukeleire challenges in final stage of Tour de l'EurometropoleSun 5 Oct 2014
Chasing victory, an aggressive Jens Keukeleire rode bravely in the final stage of the Tour de l’Eurometropole today.
The team went into the fourth and final day of racing with the belief the Belgian could still challenge for the overall victory.
The 25-year-old managed to remain in the top three at each of the intermediate sprint points, collecting five bonus seconds, before escaping with a dangerous seven-ride move over the final climb.
“We had to try to go for the bonuses with Jens (Keukeleire),” sport director Laurenzo Lapage explained. “We knew the circuit and we wanted to make it hard because we knew that it was possible to disorganise FDJ.fr.
“The last rush was on the top of the hill seven kilometres from the finish and that is where the group of seven formed.
“We tried and it didn’t work in the end, but then we had Magnus (Cort) in the sprint.”
In another case of bad luck for debutant Cort, the 21-year-old suffered a mechanical in the final preventing a challenge in the sprint.
The mechanical follows the stage two crash that also denied the young Dane an opportunity to impress in his first race in ORICA-GreenEDGE colours.
FDJ.fr’s Arnaud Demare was impressive again, winning his third stage of the four-day tour and the general classification victory.
“As the sprint began Magnus’ chain fell off,” Lapage said.
“He was in a really good position at the start of the sprint so we had a bit of bad luck again today in the end.”
Wrapping up the Tour, Lapage said that despite the results not coming off for the team, he was impressed with the level of commitment shown by the entire outfit in one of the last races of the season.
“We started the race with a plan and everyone was doing the job they had to do,” Lapage said.
“We tried to play today and go for the win, we were there everyday actually, and we had a little bit of bad luck but the motivation was there and that is not so normal at the end of a hard season.”
Several attempts for a breakaway were unsuccessful early in today’s stage, the peloton vigilant in ensuring the action stayed close together on the deciding day of racing.
Eventually a group of six riders - Lasse Norman Hansen (GRS), Jasper De Buyst (TSV), Rob Ruijgh (VGS), Romain Pillion (RLM), Jimmy Turgis (RLM) and Tom Dernies (WBC) - were allowed free.
Their efforts went unrewarded and the advantage was kept to less than three minutes before being closed down completely with 45km to go.
Immediately, count attacks began including the dangerous move involving ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Keukeleire, but they were also shut down ahead of the final sprint.