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Powering around the 14km course in a time of 16.34, van Emden beat his teammate Kelderman by five seconds in the Eneco Tour time trial; the Dutchman also took the overall lead

Photo: LottoNL-Jumbo










13.08.2015 @ 17:09 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After his fifth place in the Tour de France time trial, Jos van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) confirmed that he has improved his time trialling massively when he won the Eneco Tour time trial. The Dutchman covered the flat 14km course in 16.34 which was five seconds faster than his teammate Wilco Kelderman and seven seconds faster than Adriano Malori (Movistar) and enough to take both the stage win and the leader’s jersey.


A few years ago, Jos van Emden was regarded as one of the biggest time trial talents who won the Dutch TT championships in 2010 and laid the foundations for a fifth place in the 2007 Eneco Tour by riding a great time trial. However, in recent years he has disappeared into an anonymous domestique role and has been unable to build on the potential he showed as a young rider.


This year van Emden has managed to turn things around completely. In the Tour of California, he was agonizingly close to his first TT win since the 2010 Dutch championships when he was beaten by Peter Sagan after having spent almost the entire day in the hot seat. However, it was his performance at the Tour de France that really caught the attention as he was the best of the rest behind Rohan Dennis, Tony Martin, Fabian Cancellara and Tom Dumoulin.


That performance marked him out as one of the favourites for today’s time trial in the Eneco Tour where he was again riding on home soil on a short, flat course that was very similar to the Tour opener in Utrecht. Despite being up against the likes of Adriano Malori and Matthias Brändle (IAM), the Dutchman took the biggest victory of his career with a dominant ride on the 14km route.


Van Emden was a relatively early starter and found himself with a big challenge as Malori had posted the best time of 16.41. However, he was unfazed by the Italian’s reputation as one of the best time triallists in the world and went seven seconds faster.


Van Emden now faced a long wait in the hot seat while he waited for the many remaining specialists to finish their rides. Manuel Quinziato (BMC) was the first big test but when he stopped the clock in 16.50 it was clear that he had a solid chance.


In fact, it was one of his teammates who turned out to be his biggest threat as the leader of the LottoNL-Jumbo team and the reigning Dutch champion Wilco Kelderman stopped the clock in 16.39 which was enough to make it a 1-2 for the Dutch team. Furthermore, it put him in pole position in the GC battle as he gained time on all his rivals.


Van Emden had another small scare when another compatriot Lars Boom (Astana) put himself in a great GC position by stopping the clock in 16.41 which was good enough for fourth on the stage. When one of the pre-race favourites Brändle had to settle for fifth, it was clear that van Emden was going to win the stage and he just had to wait for the sprinters to finish the stage before he could step onto the podium.


Among the GC riders, Kelderman and Boom were obviously the big winners but both BMC captains also had great rides as Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert finished in the top 10. That was also the case for Michael Rogers who finished the stage in 10th.


As opposed to this, Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep) has effectively been ruled out of the GC battle as the Dutchman had extremely bad luck. Having been forced to change his bike twice, he lost almost 1.30 to van Emden and is no longer an overall threat. Pre-race favourite Andriy Grivko, Julian Alaphilippe and Simon Spilak also had poor rides and lost more time than they had hoped for.


With almost all riders starting the stage equal on time, van Emden takes the leader’s jersey off Jesper Asselman’s shoulders as the young Dutchman could only manage 108th. He goes into stage 5 with a five-second advantage over Kelderman but faces a significant challenge during tomorrow’s ride. The stage is like a mini Amstel Gold Race and includes no less 23 climbs in the Dutch Limburg province on a day when a reduced bunch sprint is expected.


A flat course

After three days for the sprinters, the GC battle would start in stage 4 which was the traditional and crucial time trial. This year’s course brought the riders along mainly flat roads around the city of Hoogerheide and was expected to suit the big specialists.


It was another great day for riding a bike when Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEDGE) rolled down the ramp as the first rider at 13.48 local time. He stopped the clock in 17.51 to set an early mark.


Best time for Coledan

However, already the third rider on the course, his teammate Jens Mouris, did better as the home rider posted a time of 17.17. That was enough to hold off Dmitriy Gruzcev (Astana) whose time of 17.48 saw him slot into second.


Mouris lost his position at the top of the leaderboard when Marco Coledan (Trek) powered across the line 17.06 and that was enough to stay in the hot seat for some time. Marcel Sieberg (Lotto Soudal) was the first to get close but 17.17 was only enough for second and Ian Stannard (Sky) had to settle for fourth with 17.20.


Malori takes the lead

Danish champion Christopher Juul Jensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) was a serious threat to Coledan but he missed out on the lead by three seconds to move into second. Moments later, Rick Flens (LottoNL-Jumbo) became the first rider to break the 17-minute mark with a time of 16.59 that catapulted him into the lead.


Flens’ time was expected to be challenged almost immediately as big favourite Adriano Malori (Movistar) had already started his ride. The Italian champion lived up to expectations by stopping the clock in 16.41 to take over the lead.


Good ride by Rogers

Just one minute later Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) proved that he is ready to go for GC when he posted the second best time of 16.55 before Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEDGE) beat him by fractions on a second. His teammate Svein Tuft also ha d a good ride to make it into 8th before Reto Hollenstein (IAM) posted the sixth best time with 17.03.


Fabio Felline (Trek) confirmed his great progress as a time triallist when he slotted into fifth with a time of 16.57 while Andrey Amador (Movistar) had a poor ride with 17.40. Michael Valgren (Tinkoff-Saxo) was the next rider to make it into the top 10 with a time of 17.09.


Kelderman slots into second

Quinziato was one of the outsiders for the stage and he did well by moving into third with 16.50. As opposed to this, Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) had a bad day and had to settle for 20th.


One of the outsiders, Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin), had bad luck to crash which took him out of contention before defending champion Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) did a surpringly good time trial to slot into seventh with 16.58. However, the local public had their eyes on Kelderman who flew the Dutch flag by slotting into seconds.


Brändle misses out

Victor Campenaerts (Topsport Vlaanderen) had a fine ride to slot into 12th but it was Lars Boom who got the attention when he moved into fourth with 16.41. His compatriot Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Garmin) was the next to do well with a time of 17.03.


Van Avermaet got his GC campaign off to the perfect start when he stopped the clock in 16.48 to move into fifth while Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) had a bad day with 17.20. Moments later, a disappointed Brändle had to settle for fifth with 16.45.


Disappointment for Etixx-QuickStep

Terpstra was forced to change his bike twice and so could only manage 18.00 before his teammate Alaphilippe stopped the clock in 17.15. It was another disappointment for Etixx-QuicStep when Yves Lampaert stopped the clock in 17.18 while Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) had a disastrous ride with 17.41.


Ramunas Navardauskas (Cannondale-Garmin) narrowly missed out on the top 10 and now everybody was just waiting for Grivo and Greipel, with mainly sprinters in the tail end of the start list. Grivko was left disappointed with 17.03 while Gilbert did a great ride with 16.54 to finish the stage in 8th.


Among the late starters, Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) could potentially create a surprise but 17.42 took him out of GC contention. When Asselman stopped the clock in 18.06, van Emden could step onto the podium as winner of the stage.



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