Rider of the Race
Typically the rider of the race would be the overall winner, Niki Terpstra, who’s pictured above enjoying a post-race cheese filled sweet pastry.
But, in view of the impending World Championships in Doha, all eyes (mine included) have been assessing the form of the potential race favourites. So the prize goes to double stage winner (stages 3 and 4), third overall and easy peasy winner of the points’ jersey, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) who now leads the UCI WorldTour classification.
The first rider to simultaneously hold both World and European road race titles [stars and stripes! – ed], Sagan has been in sparkling form with 13 victories plus four points’ jerseys, including his fifth consecutive green jersey in the Tour de France. He wore Eneco’s leader’s jersey for a few days but a mechanical at an inopportune moment yesterday meant he wasn’t able to contest the sprint. Today he chased hard to recapture the leading group but, on roads made slick and slippery by heavy rain, he was probably unwilling to take too many risks so close to Doha – likewise Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), who was also in the same chasing group. The pair are both on song, and Sagan will no doubt battle hard in the sands and winds of Doha to keep hold of that rainbow jersey while Van Avermaet will be watching him like a desert hawk.
Given the stellar cast, it was great to see a number of youngsters grabbing stage wins and a jersey. Dutch national champion Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) enjoyed his first WorldTour victory, out-sprinting Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Sagan in stage 1’s bunch sprint. The 23-year-old neo-pro has racked up a number of wins this season, including stages in the Tours of Britain and Yorkshire, which underline his credentials for the forthcoming world championships in Doha.
Luka Pibernik (Lampre-Merida) also claimed his maiden WorldTour victory on stage six when the 22-year-old Slovenian was the fastest man in the five-man sprint for the line after spending most of the stage in the break. The former national champion will be riding for Bahrain-Merida next season.
Present in a number of the breaks, including third place on stage 6, and some aggressive riding allowed 23-year-old Bert Van Lerberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise) to take the overall combativity prize.
Keep a lookout for these three talented young riders next season.
1 Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) 22:43:26
2 Oliver Naesen (IAM) +0:31
3 Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) +1:00
4 Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) +1:02
5 Jos van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) +1:11
Points Jersey: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)
Combativity Jersey: Bert Van Lerberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen)
Team Classification: Etixx-QuickStep
Stage 1: Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) Final KM here
Stage 2: Rohan Dennis (BMC) Final KM here
Stage 3: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) Final KM here
Stage 4: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) Final KM here
Stage 5: BMC Final KM here
Stage 6: Luka Pibernik (Lampre-Merdia) Final KM here
Stage 7: Edvald Boasson Hagen (Data Dimension) Final KM to come
Links: Race Report Cycling News
Header: Final Eneco Tour podium ©GETTY/Corbis/LC