Eneco Tour review: Terpstra takes overall victory on final stage

From Grand Tours back to the Belgian cobbles – this week has given Classics fans a little bit of spring at the start of autumn with the Eneco Tour. And it threw up some surprises … Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) finished second on today’s mini Tour of Flanders stage and with it, leapt from fifth onto the top step of the podium. Fellow late break-mate Oliver Naeson (IAM) was third on the stage and runner-up overall while Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), who was on the same time as Terpstra at the start of today, rounded out the podium. The race leader at the start of the final stage, Rohan Dennis (BMC), crashed and later abandoned.

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.

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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.

Fresh faces!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Final result

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 winners

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 

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