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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, September 21, 2016

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The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly either proven right or pleasantly surprised - George Will

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Eneco Tour stage 2 team reports

This came from LottoNL-Jumbo:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider Jos van Emden placed second in the stage two time trial of the Eneco Tour today. Emden had 11'53 needed for the 9.6km time trial in Breda but it was five seconds slower than winner Rohan Dennis (BMC). Wilco Kelderman was fourth and his team-mate Primoz Roglic recorded the sixth best time. In the overall standings, Dylan Groenewegen lost the jersey to Rohan Dennis.

"Such a short time trial is always difficult, you're never totally empty after the race. I rode as hard as possible and left nothing," said Jos van Emden. "I would prefer to win but in this field it is very difficult. For me, riding a good time trial depends on many factors, in such a course like this, I know can I win. The real time trial riders can win on multiple courses."

Besides Jos van Emden, Wilco Kelderman took fourth and Primoz Roglic placed sixth. Kelderman said, "This was a good time trial for me, I prefer a longer time trial and with more hills."

Roglic added, "I am satisfied with the time, though it can always be better, of course. Some of the corners were maybe a little harder, but I did my best. I'm still looking for my best type of time trial, such a short time trial is now also going well and that's nice to discover."

Trainer Mathieu Heijboer saw that they did well. "You always prefer to win, but the three men did their best. It looked very good, Jos rode a large gear and sat very still. We knew early on that it was going to be a great time."

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis riding to his stage 2 win

Also Wilco Kelderman and Primoz Roglic rode a good time trial for the classification. "Roglic recorded a good target time that I could focus on with Kelderman. Wilco rode very aggressively and is in the final stretch, he was still under the time of Roglic."

TTT: On Friday, a team time trial is on the programme. Jos van Emden said, "I am certainly ambitious for that day. If we can ride top three, I'm  content.

"We need to be sharp again, the team time trial will be very important for the general classification. We must ensure that we maintain a good team time trial for Primoz, Wilco and Jos."

Dylan Groenewegen today lost the leader's jersey, but was not sorry. "It's not my thing, but I did a good time trial.

"It's nice to finally get started in the leader's jersey. It's motivating to ride hard in your own country. I am thinking of tomorrow, to recover well and then sprint again."

This Eneco Tour report came from Tinkoff:

You can seemingly throw any stage at him, and he will respond with a big performance. We’re of course talking about Peter Sagan, who, after sprinting to third on yesterday’s opening stage of the Eneco Tour, has today time trialled to eighth on stage 2, moving up to third on GC.

The only individual time trial of the race covered a 9.6km out-and-back loop, starting and finishing in the Dutch town of Breda. With some long, straight sections and few corners to negotiate it was a course suited to the powerful riders, with the sprinters getting up there on the results sheet alongside the TT specialists by the end of the day.

With his position on the stage, together with his third place yesterday, Peter assumes the lead in the points classification. After the stage, he told us: “I gave my best today and am happy with my time trial and third on GC. Everything is about seconds here and we’re still in a good position. It is important not to crash in the next days and we will see if there’s any wind, and take it day by day – I think the team time trial will be decisive. On Sunday the legs were super and now they’re a bit more tired, but I’m feeling good.”

Alongside Peter, Maciej Bodnar also rode a solid race, ending the day in 23rd place, 23 seconds down, while Michael Valgren limited his losses to 34 seconds, to finish 45th on the stage.

Sport Director, Tristian Hoffman commented on the day’s performances from the finish, saying: “I think Peter did really well, he rode a strong time trial and we still have options for the GC with just 13 seconds in it. The course was quite straight forward, with just three or four corners where you had to come out of the bars, and the rest was fast. Peter looked comfortable, fast and took the corners well so there’s no complaints.

“Tomorrow it looks like there’s no wind again so it shouldn’t be too crazy. We go down the coast, and finish on laps where I expect we’ll have a bunch sprint. After that, some of the climbs start from Thursday.”

Tomorrow’s third stage indeed looks like it should be another sprint showdown, and after yesterday’s busy finish with a large number of riders in contention, it could again be anyone’s stage.

And this is Team Sky's Eneco Tour news:

Geraint Thomas remains in overall contention at the Eneco Tour after producing a solid ride on the day two time trial. Thomas finished the 9.6 kilometre course in 11 minutes 20 seconds, 32 seconds back on stage winner Rohan Dennis (BMC), who completed the test in central Breda at an average speed of 53.3km/h.

That leaves Thomas 32 seconds off the lead, with two hilly stages and a team time trial still to come in Holland and Belgium.

Vasil Kiryienka put in a strong performance out on course but the time trial world champion was hamstrung after a pre-stage technical issue saw him head down the ramp late. Danny van Poppel was the team's next man home, 43 seconds back, with Ben Swift home seven seconds later. Michal Kwiatkowski, Andy Fenn and Lars Petter Nordhaug all finished safely.

After a relatively quiet start to the race, Sport Director Servais Knaven talked us through the day and gave an injury report on Van Poppel after his crash on day one. "G was our top finisher today and although he's lost some time he's in the mix. We've seen from previous editions there's lots that can happen in this race," said the Dutchman.

"Danny is okay after his crash and he was able to do a decent time today. He felt pretty good ahead of the stage. He had some pain yesterday but today was much better.

"I expect a bunch sprint tomorrow, as well as Thursday and probably also on Saturday. Hopefully he can recover well enough to be in the mix tomorrow and go for the stage win again. That's the aim."

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