Eenkhoorn Moves into Second Overall After Tough Queen Stage5. May 2017, St Maurice l'Exil (FRA) — Development Team
The Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour queen stage lived up to expectations with the constant climbing taking its toll and splitting the peloton before a reshuffle of the General Classification saw Pascal Eenkhoorn move into second overall with one stage remaining.
Once again, it was a battle to get into the breakaway on stage 3 with several groups trying to go clear before the successful move was made after over 50km of racing.
The six-rider group went clear heading over the top of the second categorized climb, Côte d'Albigny, and slowly built up an advantage over the bunch behind.
However the gap never reached beyond 2'30" and as the race hit the slopes of the category one climb, Col de Malleval, which peaked out with 92km to go, the peloton had the breakaway in its sights.
Three riders were able to bridge across to the initial breakaway but their efforts were ultimately futile as the race was quickly back together.
With the injection of speed at the front of the bunch, the peloton split in two with the overall race lead of Jérémy Cornu (Direct Energie) in danger in the second group.
All six BMC Development Team riders were well positioned in the first group before one further split saw around 30 riders set the tempo at the front of the race. The riders continued to push on and extended an advantage over the yellow jersey group, which had reached over 3 minutes with 60km to go, and would continue to rise over the remainder of the stage.
On the penultimate categorized climb, Côte du Pilon, riders began to drop off the back of the leading group including Jasper Philipsen and Marc Hirschi.
The attacks from the first group began inside the final 25km with Pavel Sivakov going clear alongside six other riders. However as they headed over the finish line to start the final 16km finishing lap, the race was back together. Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) then made the final move with 10km to go but the group continued to chase hard behind with Cras, Sivakov, Müller and Eenkhoorn helping to set the pace.
Eventually just before the flamme rouge, they were back together and heading for a final bunch sprint with Robert Stannard (Australian Cycling Team) taking the win.
Eenkhoorn crossed fourth to move into second overall on the General Classification, two seconds behind new the race leader, Marco Minnard (Wanty Groupe Gobert), and maintains his lead of the Best Young Rider Classification.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“It was a super hard day today at the beginning with two big climbs. There were a few strong attacks but Direct Energie controlled the race. As we reached the 10km category one climb, the pace was full gas right from the bottom and the yellow jersey was dropped. I was in the front group with Steff Cras and Pavel Sivakov. There were some attacks over the top of the climb and I was able to follow before just 30 riders were left at the front of the race. The Australian Cycling Team was riding really hard at the front and we were able to sit in the group comfortably. For me, it was more about surviving the next climb as we knew Patrick Müller was coming back across.”
“Over the last 20km, there were some attacks and Pavel was trying to make a move then, on the last circuit, we went to the front of the race to help chase Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie). In the last 2km we were back together and I was able to stay in the wheel for the sprint and take fourth. It was a pity I didn’t take any bonus seconds at the finish but I felt super strong today and we have shown we have one of the strongest teams here. We will see what happens tomorrow.”
“Today was a really hard stage. It was full gas right from the start. We were able to manage the stage well and we finished with four guys in the front group with Pascal Eenkhoorn moving into second overall. We are really happy for him and for me, I had a good day today and tried to follow all the breaks before working for Pascal at the end.”
“Pavel Sivakov and me were directly in front on the big climb and a couple of kilometers from the top, guys began to attack. We were able to follow and help bring Pascal Eenkhoorn into a great position. We were able to relax a little bit when we knew the others were coming back into the group and we let the other teams work at the front. On the last circuit, I worked for Pascal and made sure he was in a good position for the finish. It was a hard stage today but I think we definitely did a good job as a team.”
Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour
Stage 3: Genay > St Maurice L’Exil, 175km
Top 3: 1. Robert Stannard (Australian Cycling Team) 2. Nicholas Schultz (Caja Rural-Seguro RGA) 3. Alexander Aranburu Deva (Caja Rural-Seguro RGA)
BMC Development Team Top 3: 4. Pascal Eenkhoorn 22. Steff Cras 23. Pavel Sivakov