Stage 5 of the Eneco Tour presented itself as a 21km team time trial. Reigning team time trial World Champions, BMC Racing, posted the fastest time of the day to win the stage. Etixx-Quickstep finished in 2nd place while 3rd spot went to LottoNL-Jumbo.
It was a fast 20.9km loop around Sittard-Geleen and our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were the first team to start today. It’s always difficult starting first with no real gauge as to what time is possible when the course is completed at race pace. Our African Team, not known for ability against the clock, had hoped to put in a solid team in order to still keep Edvald Boasson Hagen in the running for a good overall position.
After Bernie Eisel did not complete yesterday’s 4th stage, our African Team hit the road with 7 riders and the guys consistently kept the speedometer above the 50km/h mark. Crossing the line in a time of 24’49”, we could only wait to see how our effort would stack up against the other 21 teams.
In the end, BMC Racing showed their strength in this particular discipline, finishing with a time 1’36” faster than our African Team. Although a time just 30 seconds faster would have seen our team gain as many as 5 positions, we would have to settle for 19th on the day. This result meant Boasson Hagen is now over 2’00” down on overall race leader, Rohan Dennis (BMC) and puts a real damper on our GC aspirations for this event. There are still 2 stages to come this weekend and no doubt our African Team will be fighting all the way to the finish.
Johann van Zyl – Rider
We gave the TTT what we could but as the other the other teams came in it was clear we were a bit off the pace. The race is not over, there are still two tough stages coming this weekend and that is what we will concentrate on now. We have been close to a stage win already so if everything comes together, we can finish the race off on a high.