Niki Terpstra has been in several escape groups in this year's Tour de France, and on Sunday was the last break rider to be caught, with only three kilometres to go. That was enough for the Quick Step rider, who said this may well be his last Tour.
“You must be a sprinter or climber to win a stage in the Tour. If you are in between, like me, you don't stand a chance,” he told De Telegraaf. “I don't think I feel like riding next year's Tour de France.”
Terpstra was named most combative rider for the stage from Limoux to Montpellier. He and four others got away only two kilometres into the stage, and never had more than a four minute gap. “In the break we collaborated very well. The wind in the first part of the race was at our backs and so it made things a bit easier,” he said on the team's website.
With 22km to go, Mikhail Ignatiev of Katusha attacked out of the group, and only Terpstra was able to go with him. Then with 6 kilometres left to the line, the Dutchman attacked again. “I found the strength to break forward alone, but the altimetry in the last kilometres definitely didn’t help me.
“I’m satisfied anyway that I got the prize for combativeness. It’s a good result, that’s a major payoff for me and the team, for all the hard work we’ve been doing these days. We’re always very active and this is a prize for our guts and drive after the first week, which was marked by several crashes," he said after the stage.;
However, the 27-year-old had hoped for more. “You hope that you can stay away, but in a flat ride there is only one percent chance of success. That is nothing.”