Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin) displayed optimism and strength in forcing the day's decisive breakaway, and then helping it succeed ahead of the peloton during stage 6 at the Eneco Tour. The American picked up additional time bonuses and moved into 15th overall.
“It was a goal to be in the breakaway today," Haga said. "We expected the breakaway to be caught but maybe not before the golden kilometer. So I managed to get nine bonus seconds there and move up the GC a little bit. But it went even better and the break made it to the finish with a time gap, so that was good for the GC. Overall I had a good day out front, making the bike race and not just being a passenger.”
Luka Pibernik (Lampre-Merida) won the stage in a five-man sprint effort to beat Briton’s Mark McNally (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Bert Van Lerberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), while Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) was fourth and the Haga finished fifth.
The peloton finished only five seconds behind with Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) taking the bunch sprint for sixth place beating Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ). Rohan Dennis (BMC) remains in the overall lead ahead of the final stage on Sunday.
Haga started the day only 56 seconds down in the overall classification. The five men gained a maximum of four minutes on the field and Haga was able to pick up full time bonuses in all three 'golden kilometre' sprints on course, worth three seconds each. Haga now sits in 15th overall at 42 seconds behind Dennis.
“Today we had the objective to be in the break, with either Søren or Chad with the aim to gain seconds in the golden kilometre," Coach Morten Bennekou said. "It was a great effort from Chad to be part of it, and he managed to take all the bonification seconds. After that, we expected the peloton to catch them but they didn’t.
“In the finale, like Chad had used up a lot of energy to get those extra seconds, he was not as fresh as the other riders in the breakaway. In addition, he is not that experienced in those types of finishes. However, I think he did a really good job during the whole day."