Reinardt Janse van Rensburg was Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s best placed finisher today, as he crossed the line in St-Pieters-Leeuw in 7th place. In a hectic sprint reigning World Champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) got the better of André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).
With a few cobbled sections en route from Aalter to St-Pieters-Leeuw the race got right into the action when Mark McNally (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Brian Van Goethem (Roompot), Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Roompot), and Bert Van Lerberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) forged clear. The quartet opened up a gap of just over 4 minutes but wasn’t allowed to stay away. With less than 100 kilometers left to race and the hardest part of the stage yet to come the peloton got organized and began to slowly eat into the gap. The break was caught only a mere 20 kilometers later.
From then on it was attack over attack. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) tried his luck with a few others, but the move of his group was countered quickly.
With 40 kilometers to go Nathan Haas hit the front for our African team, riding Edvald Boasson Hagen into position. The two got quite a strong group of riders around them and also managed to get a little gap over the peloton. However, the bunch wasn’t keen on letting them go.
When the catch was made Dmitry Gruzdev and Andrej Grivko jumped away. The Astana duo quickly built up a lead of 30 seconds and was later joined by Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo). They stayed away until 2 kilometers to go.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka rode attentively all day, playing an important role in the finale to bring the break back with Jay Thomson helping to drive the bunch. Boasson Hagen was then brought into position for the sprint by Janse van Rensburg and it seemed that he would have the perfect spot when Kristoff opened his sprint. Unfortunately, our riders lost each other in that moment. Boasson Hagen managed to find a way onto Greipel’s wheel when he got boxed in. He had to stop pedaling to avoid a crash and therefore couldn’t play his card as planned. Janse van Rensburg just managed to get through that situation to earn the team another top10 at this Eneco Tour. Boasson Hagen crossed the line in 12th place. He is now 41 seconds down in GC on Sagan, who took the stage in a photo finish and also moved into the overall lead.
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg – Rider
I quite enjoyed today’s race. It was pretty chaotic in the last 100 kilometers. There were lots of attacks and we tried a few times to destabilize the race by sneaking into the moves. In the end I was meant to bring Edvald in position for the sprint. We lost each other in the last bit, so I hang on to cross the line in 7th.