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"On the other side we have a second place, a third place, and two times fifth and it’s not like we don’t have any results. We had a couple days that were bad, but also we had some nice top finishes."

Photo: Trek Factory Racing

BENELUX TOUR

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DANILO HONDO

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EUGENIO ALAFACI

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JESSE SERGENT

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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17.08.2014 @ 19:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Trek got the Eneco Tour off to a bad start when they dropped out of the GC battle on the second stage. However, the team stroke back with great performances in select stages and ended the race moderately satisfied after Danilo Hondo had taken 8th in the final stage.

 

The 183.4-kilometer stage seven, the last race of the weeklong event, was a constant up, down, left and right with plenty of road furniture and crosswinds thrown in: in short, it was the third straight leg-breaking day the peloton faced.

 

Trek Factory Racing came into the final stage with nothing to lose and fully prepared to throw in one last big effort. When a large breakaway formed Danilo Hondo and Jesse Sergent were part of the 20-man group, and the team had a fighting chance to end the Eneco Tour with a good result. 

 

“Like I said yesterday it could be a bit difficult if the break would go or not, and we decided to be very attentive at the beginning and if a group goes we would be represented," sports director Dirk Demol said. "We were there, and that was good to see. I was surprised it was such a big group, but since the highest on GC was a rider from QuickStep at over six minutes back it was a good situation for Lotto [Belisol].”

 

Stage seven turned into a day of two races: the large 20-man breakaway fought out the stage victory while the battle for the overall win, separated by a mere seven seconds, played out from the chasing peloton.

 

Team Belkin led the pursuit, adamant to catch the breakaway for the bonus seconds on the line if they had any hope to grab back the leader's jersey. But Omega Pharma-QuickStep had three men in the leading escape, and with the gap slowly slipping away they began to play their cards. With over 35 kilometers to go Guillaume Van Keirsbulck launched the first and only attack they needed; in an incredible show of strength he soloed to the victory.

 

Behind the remaining breakaway unraveled: a group of nine with Danilo Hondo arrived 46 seconds after Van Keirsbulck to sprint for the minor places. Hondo finished eighth, while Jesse Sergent, a casualty of a slow leaking tire, was caught by the decimated peloton with just over three kilometers to go.

 

“For the final Van Keirsbulck was so strong," Demol said. "When you do a solo ride of almost 40 kilometers, and you win in the way he did – that is impressive. Good for him.

 

"It’s just a pity that with 10 kilometers to go Jesse felt his back wheel had a flat tire. It was a slow leak, and that is why he was not in the group with Hondo anymore. But okay, we did not have a big result today, but on the other side it was good to see that we were there and that we gave it a try.”

 

Boy van Poppel also had a strong final day to finish with the GC contenders in a peloton carved to a bare-boned skeleton by the furious Belkin pace setting.  He sprinted to 15th place.

 

The unfortunate news of a nasty crash by Eugenio Alafaci blighted an otherwise reassuring day for Trek Factory Racing. It was a small mistake, easily made from a fatigued rider.

 

“Alafaci crashed, he went down very hard," Demol said. "He was gapped off, and then was looking behind and made contact with another rider. This is always a danger when you look behind. I hope he is not too bad, and there is nothing broken. They brought him to the hospital for more observation and I am still waiting news on him.”

 

In the end the GC battle fizzled and finally sputtered out when the breakaway gobbled up the finish-line bonus seconds; there with no changes to the final classification: Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) secured the overall victory, seven seconds ahead of Lars Boom (Belkin) and 13 seconds over Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano).

 

Although Trek Factory Racing did not achieve its goals in the Eneco Tour, they did not leave empty-handed, explained Dirk Demol as he summarized the tough week of racing:

 

“Of course I can’t hide it that I am disappointed that we were out of the GC fight on the second day already," Demol said. "On the other side we have a second place, a third place, and two times fifth and it’s not like we don’t have any results. We had a couple days that were bad, but also we had some nice top finishes.

 

"Okay that is what we have to live with, but I am confident the condition for all the boys is good. Now we will go on the road in the next weeks to do some one-day races beginning with Hamburg, and I am hopeful that we will get some nice results.”

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