Keukeleire secures eighth overall at Eneco Tour

Sun 17 Aug 2014

Belgian Jens Keukeleire has improved his overall position on the final stage of the Eneco Tour to secure eighth on general classification.

Meanwhile, Australian time trial champion Michael Hepburn, who celebrates his 23rd birthday today, spent the last day in a strong breakaway of 20 riders caught in the final 3km. 

Sole break escapee Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (OPQ) won the stage whilst Tim Wellens (LTB) successfully defended the overall victory. 

Sport director Matt Wilson wrapped up the week-long Tour saying the team had achieved one of their main goals.

“We knew Jens Keukeleire was an outside chance for a top ten overall and that we would be pursuing that,” he said.

“As far as an internal goal we definitely ticked that box, but the stage win was the big goal and we fell short. A little bit disappointing on that front but, really under the circumstances, I can’t fault the guys.”

Keukeleire matched it with the overall contenders for the third consecutive Classics-style challenge, a lack of action limiting his opportunities to vie for a final stage win.   

“Today we were hoping it was going to run a bit different on the finish circuit and there was going to be a little bit more attacking,” Wilson said.

“It was a strange circuit. Belkin chased but they didn’t chase hard and everyone had someone in the break so there wasn’t any really pressure from behind.

“The opportunity never presented itself to jump away and try something again today but Jens rode a fantastic race in all, you can only do what you can do with the legs you have and he got the best result possible.”

Earlier in the day, the 20-man breakaway formed 30km after the start and after a quiet Tour to date Hepburn represented the ORICA-GreenEDGE colours.

“We had identified three guys for going into the break today and Hepburn was one of those,” White said.

“It was a good day for the break as long as there was a big group and that is exactly what it was. 

“Heppy is coming back form a stint at the Commonwealth Games and wasn’t feeling fantastic the first few days so we just said to take it easy up there and see what he could do in the final.

“It’s great experience for him to be out there in a break on a WorldTour race.”