Dennis Defends Leader’s Jersey on Eneco Tour Stage 321. September 2016, Ardooie (BEL) — Road Team
Rohan Dennis successfully defended his leader’s white jersey on stage 3 of the Eneco Tour which came down to a thrilling sprint finale in Ardooie.
Starting the day with five seconds on Jos Van Emden (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and 13 seconds on Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Dennis and his BMC Racing Team teammates were happy to let a five-rider breakaway go clear after just 3km of racing.
The peloton sat up and allowed the breakaway to gain over six minutes on the main field. Halfway through the 182km stage the peloton picked up the pace and brought the group’s advantage down.
Despite a fast chase by the sprinters’ teams the breakaway still held a one-minute advantage with 10km remaining.
It was a cruel finish for the breakaway when Peter Sagan led the bunch sprint on the finish straight and caught the breakaway just meters before the line to take the win.
Dennis crossed the line in the bunch to hold onto his race lead going into stage 4.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It wasn’t a super difficult day for us but we just needed to stay calm. Obviously we had to show our presence at the front as we had the leader’s jersey so we couldn’t just sit back and disrespect it. It was a waiting game today and all of a sudden it was stress. It was pretty straightforward until those last circuits. They didn’t make it easy for me [to keep the jersey]. Peter Sagan took the stage which meant a ten second bonus so he’s only three seconds behind me now. That last 10km was quite stressful as there was a lot of fighting to stay out of trouble. That last kilometer was flat out for everyone. We had to make sure there were no splits and time lost through that.”
“We weren’t too worries about a sprint. If Peter didn’t take the stage it was perfect for us but I’ve still got the jersey and we stayed out of trouble today. I’m not sure about tomorrow as I haven’t really looked too far ahead. It could be another sprint and Sagan can sprint and he can climb so he could still take the jersey tomorrow. We have one of the best teams here for the team time trial, we’re world champions for the last two years, and there’s no reason why we can’t that time back then.”
“Ideally the breakaway would have stayed away today which would have kept Rohan’s lead where it was going into the stage. The most important thing is that we defended the jersey today. Stage 4 could go either way but we are confident that we can put some time into the main GC guys in the team time trial.”
Stage 3 Blankenberge > Ardooie (182.3km)
Top 3: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 51. Greg Van Avermaet, 56. Taylor Phinney, 75. Rohan Dennis
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 1. Rohan Dennis, 9. Taylor Phinney, 16. Tom Bohli
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.