Eneco Tour Stage Three: Defense of Race Lead

Sat 11 Aug 2012

Jens Keukeleire remains in the race leader’s jersey following a bunch sprint on the third stage of the Eneco Tour. Svein Tuft, Sebastian Langeveld, Jens Mouris and  Luke Durbridge remained tied on time with Keukeleire. The five ORICA-GreenEDGE riders occupy the top five spots on the general classification.

“We wanted to keep the jersey within the team, but we did not want to spend too much energy to do this,” said Sports Director Laurenzo Lapage. “We’re thinking about the time trial on Saturday, and this is where we can really make our difference.”

An early break of four riders went up the ride during the first hour of racing. With no threats to the overall in the move, ORICA-GreenEDGE was content to allow the breakaway to gobble up the bonus seconds on offer during the three intermediate sprints.

“The boys did a great job controlling the race during the first hour,” said Lapage. “Once we saw who was in the break, we knew we were safe.”

The escape group gained a maximum advantage of 5:25 around the 100 kilometer mark. Fumy Beppu and Svein Tuft took charge of the chase.

“We always had the plan that Svein and Fumy we do the work,” explained Lapage. “And I must say it was great work. With four guys in the break, we only had to fully use two riders for the chase.”

Fifteen kilometers from the finish, the field was back together and charging towards the line. The hectic finale included narrow roads, road furniture and tight turns. Theo Bos (Rabobank) took the stage win ahead of John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) and Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Sharp).

“We did the last ten kilometers three times today, so we knew the final would be chaotic,” noted Lapage. “The best thing to do in these situations is to stay at the front, so that’s what the boys tried to do. We had the idea to go for Aidis [Kruopis] in the sprint today, but it didn’t work out. The jersey was the priority, and we accomplished that objective.”