Eenkhoorn Secures Second Overall After Wet and Cold Day in France6. May 2017, Charvieu Chavagneux (FRA) — Development Team
The final day of racing at Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour was set to the backdrop of wet and cold conditions with Marc Hirschi riding as part of the day’s breakaway before a fast finale saw Pascal Eenkhoorn secure his podium position on the General Classification.
The peloton set a fast pace from KM 0 on stage 4 with the peloton strung out along the road before three riders were able to go clear after almost 20km of racing.
As the trio began to build up an advantage, Marc Hirschi reacted and made the jump across for BMC Development Team alongside two other riders. The advantage of the successful breakaway continued to rise with the peloton four minutes behind after over 40km of racing.
With Hirschi up at the front of the race, and the best-placed rider of the group, BMC Development Team could relax behind and allow race leader Marco Minnard's Wanty-Groupe Gobert team to set the tempo at the front of the bunch.
After rising to 4’50” heading over the top of the first of two categorized climbs, Côte du Bois de Cessieu, the gap to the Hirschi-led group began to level off, hovering around five minutes before the peloton picked up the pace inside the final 70km, of the 182.7km course.
The gap began to fall quickly, and eventually, the peloton had the breakaway in its sights. Inside the final 50km, the attacks began heading over the finish line for the first circuit around Charvieu Chavagneux.
Eventually, several attacks off the front of the peloton later, five riders were left out at the front of the race and grasping onto a narrow advantage before a fast and furious final 9.7km lap.
The bunch continued to put pressure on the group from behind and, in a nail-biting finale, the race was back together going under the flamme rouge before navigating the two final corners at high-speed.
It was Justin Oien (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) who found the clearest path to the line to take the stage win ahead of Delko Marseille-Provence KTM riders Romain Combaud and Evaldas Siskevicius.
Eenkhoorn who had been supported by his BMC Development Team teammates all day finished safely in the bunch behind to secure second overall on the General Classification and victory in the Best Young Rider Classification.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“We gave it everything today to try and go for the victory. At first, we wanted to try and get the early bonus seconds but a break went just before that and blocked the road so, it worked out well for Wanty-Groupe Gobert at that point. After that, we were at the front, and it was super cold. In the final, we talked and after 80km, I wasn't feeling super good but after the final climb, I was feeling better, and I could see that the yellow jersey was struggling.”
“We tried everything to make the race really hard. Pavel Sivakov attacked, Jasper Philipsen attacked and so did I, but in the end, the final circuit wasn’t hard enough to make a big difference. For me, it was a pity that there was no small climb or something in the final as I was feeling super good. I went from the last corner with 500m to go and Jasper helped me to get a small gap, but the other teams were sprinting early.”
“Overall it’s been a positive week for the team. We have been top ten in every stage and now second overall on the General Classification. We really worked as a team over the last four days, and I have to thank the guys. They were super strong, and today again they helped me. We really showed that we can compete at this high level.”
“It was not the plan for me to be in the breakaway today. Instead, we wanted to control the peloton and try to go for the bonus seconds and the intermediate sprint after 19km. However, when the three riders went, I made it across to them, and I was able to take some of the pressure off the team behind me. When the breakaway started to attack, I was already feeling it in my legs, but by that point, I had done my job, and I was able to help Pascal Eenkhoorn as much as possible.”
Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour
Stage 4: St Maurice L’Exil > Charvieu Chavagneux 182.7km
Top 3: 1. Justin Oien (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) 2. Romain Combaud (Delko Marseille-Provence KTM) 3. Evaldas Siskevicius (Delko Marseille-Provence KTM).
BMC Development Team Top 3: 8. Jasper Philipsen 14. Pascal Eenkhoorn 24. Pavel Sivakov