Tour of Normandy: Breakaway Stays Away, Eenkhoorn Maintains Top Ten Position on GC25. March 2017, Bagnoles-de-l’Orne-Normandie (FRA) — Development Team
The penultimate stage of Tour of Normandy saw the breakaway manage to hold off the chasing peloton on the line with Damien Gaudin (Armée de Terre) taking the stage win and Pascal Eenkhoorn finishing in the bunch behind to maintain his top ten position on the General Classification.
It was a fast start to Tour of Normandy stage 6 with the peloton chasing down all early breakaway attempts until eventually, after 45km of racing, four riders were able to form the first and only serious breakaway of the day.
The peloton kept a watchful eye on the quartet and never allowed their advantage to reach beyond two minutes. Approaching the final 10km circuit, which the riders would cover three times, the peloton began to pick up the pace with riders quickly dropping off the back of the bunch.
The sprinters' teams looked determined to bring the race back together before the finish, but with a rider in the breakaway and the overall lead of Anthony Delaplace to protect, Fortuneo - Vital Concept took control and eventually the breakaway were able to battle it out for the win just ahead of the main bunch.
Eenkhoorn finished safely in the peloton behind to remain eighth overall on the General Classification, 49 seconds behind Delaplace and hold onto his lead of the Best Young Rider Classification.
Pavel Sivakov also leads the Mountains Classification with one stage remaining.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Pascal Eenkhoorn (leader of the Best Young Rider Classification):
"It was a lot of small ups and downs all day and mixed with the crosswinds; it took a long time for a breakaway to form but we were able to help control their advantage. In the end, we tried to set up a bunch sprint, but with a tough final circuit, riders were being dropped and eventually only myself and Pavel Sivakov remained in a reduced group of riders chasing the breakaway."
"It was a shame that Nathan Van Hooydonck had to leave the race as he is a really strong leader but every day we have been super strong. We have been in the breakaway, we have had good results with Bram Welten on a couple of stages. We have shown that we are strong especially on our first stage race of the year. It's not time to sit up yet, we still have one stage to go and we will look to be competitive again tomorrow."
Pavel Sivakov (leader of the Mountains Classification):
"Today I felt good, and I feel like my form is getting better and better with every stage. In the end today, we tried to catch the breakaway, and I was pulling at the front for almost four kilometers, but we were just not able to close the gap. We wanted to try and go for a sprint but it was a really hard final lap, and only 40 guys went to the finish in the main bunch. Pascal Eenkhoorn was really good today, so we stay in the top ten for the GC and for me, it looks like I still have a solid hold on the Mountains Classification."
"The race isn't over yet, and we have been trying as hard as we can to make it into the breakaway or to be active in the final to show how strong we are and that we are a competitive team. This is our first stage race of the year so not only is it about showing our form but it's also about gaining as much experience as we can for the races coming up."
"Tomorrow is the final stage of the week, so it's time for us to go all in and see if we can come away with a stage win and also help keep Pascal's position on the GC."
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
"Today didn’t really go as expected. It was a super fast stage with four guys making it into the breakaway. The peloton was chasing full gas all day and kept the breakaway’s lead to within two minutes, but in the end, they were able to stay out in front for about ten seconds on the line. We tried to organize the chase behind, but it was not easy with the pace. They guys did the maximum that they could, but in the end, we only had Pascal Eenkhoorn and Pavel Sivakov in the reduced peloton. Pascal tried to make a move on the final lap, but with the wind, it was hard to bridge across. We still have one more chance to take the win tomorrow, but all week the guys have be really strong and I am really happy with the form they have being showing."
Tour of Normandy
Stage 5: La Ferté-Macé > Bagnoles-de-l’Orne-Normandie, 159km
Top 3: 1. Damien Gaudin (Armée de Terre) 2. Sebastien Delfosse (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect) 3. Jasper De Laat (Metec - TKH Continental Cyclingteam p/b Mantel)
BMC Development Team Top 3: 13. Pascal Eenkhoorn 43. Pavel Sivakov 72. Bram Welten