Dylan Groenwegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) won the opening stage of the Eneco Tour, sprinting to the victory ahead Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and World Champion, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff). Edvald Boasson Hagen was one place of the podium, taking 4th place at the line for our African Team.
The opening stage of the Eneco Tour saw riders having to deal with a mostly flat 185km circular route which started and finished in Bolsward. The stage was always going to be perfect for the sprinters and with so many top flight sprinters teams present, a number of teams were on hand to control any breakaway that would form.
5 riders still gave the sprint teams a run for their money though as they rode away to a 4-minute lead. Etixx-Quickstep, Lotto-Soudal and Cofidis did the majority of the pace making from the pack and they were helped by numerous other teams throughout the day. With very little wind, there really was nothing standing in the way of the stage being decided by a mass sprint.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were riding for our Norwegian champion, Edvald Boasson Hagen. From 10km to go our African Team’s presence was noted around the head of the peloton. Bernie Eisel, Nathan Haas and Tyler Farrar were all riding to place Boasson Hagen in prime position from where to launch a sprint. Going under the 3km to go banner the break was caught and the stage win and first leaders jersey was up for grabs. After a final solid turn from Eisel, Boasson Hagen took the wheel of countryman, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).
With more favoured big bunch sprinters present, Boasson Hagen hit out early and his tactic almost paid dividends. Boasson Hagen had his nose in front right up until the final 50m whereby Groenewegen, Bouhanni and Sagan where just able to come back over our Norwegian strongman. It would be 4th place on the stage for Boasson Hagen and 9th on GC, after the break claimed a few bonus seconds on route to the finish.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
It was a good stage today for us and all the guys really looked after me well. Tyler and Bernie were great there in the final and in the sprint I went early to try get a bit ahead of the faster guys. It was a long sprint and a hard sprint, and I ended 4th after a few guys came back to me before the line. I had to go early so I am happy with this start. It is the first stage and I am pleased with how I was feeling.