For the 3rd time this Tour de France, Edvald Boasson Hagen sprinted to 5th place at the stage finish for MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung. Andre Griepel (Lotto-Soudal) would be the rider who took the stage 14 honours, beating John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) to the line.
After an extremely fast start that saw numerous attacks, including surges from our very own Daniel Teklehaimanot and Serge Pauwels, a group of 9 riders went clear around the 50km mark. Team Katusha as well as Europcar were keen to keep the escape group in check and set a high tempo at the head of the peloton.
The gap never really touched the 3 minute mark and once the peloton went over the category 2 Col de l’Escrinet that topped out with 57km to go, it was obvious that the break would soon be caught. The final 25km was raced with the peloton “all together” as the sprinters teams jockeyed for position.
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg would serve as the leadout man for Edvald today and the pair combined well to move into a great position in the final kilometer. Reinie went from 10th wheel to first, Edvald in tow, just before the final bend at 300m to go. The kick to the line began and it was the pure power sprinters like Griepel, Degenkolb and Kristoff who were always going to have the upper hand.
Edvald kept the other pretenders at bay to secure another solid 5th place stage finish for our African team. With Serge Pauwels crossing the line 20th and Reinie in 34th, MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung would also win the stage team classification once again.
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg – Rider
It was a super-fast day today with Katusha controlling the race impressively for it to come down to a bunch sprint. My legs weren’t great but once we got into the final few kilometres I was able to switch off and do a good leadout for Edvald. In the end it was 5th place for us, which in this field is not a bad result, but something we could improve on too.
Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
Our goal for the day was to get a rider into the break and initially we achieved this with Serge who got into a pretty big lead group of about 24 riders. Immediately Katusha started chasing and this made it tough for some of our guys, especially Tyler and Daniel who dropped to the grupetto for the day. After this 9 riders went clear but it was pretty obvious we would have a sprint today. We had a plan B for this and we prepared the sprint for Edvald. He came 5th which again is a super result for us with only big sprinters ahead of him. We also won the best team for the stage so it was a pretty good day for us.