Eneco Tour: BMC Racing wins team time trial

Dennis takes lead back from Sagan

BMC Racing put in a commanding performance in the last team time trial before the World Championships with victory on stage 5 of the Eneco Tour on Friday.

The American-registered team covered the technical 20.9-kilometre course in a time of 23:11 to nudge perennial rivals, Etixx QuickStep, into second place by six seconds. LottoNL-Jumbo claimed a surprise third, in a time of 23:34.

The win for BMC Racing was enough for Rohan Dennis to reclaim the race lead he had lost to Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) the previous day. The road world champion's team started last but could only manage 8th on the stage, with Sagan slipping down the overall. 

Dennis, who is targeting two gold medals at the Worlds, now leads the race by 16 seconds, with his teammate Taylor Phinney in second. Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) is third, 24 seconds adrift, with Sagan a further three seconds down.

With the World Championships just a few weeks away, the Eneco Tour provided the best possible battle ground for squads to fight over a potentially morale-boosting victory. BMC Racing, who have won the TTT at the last two Worlds, were in control as soon as they rolled down the start ramp.

While the majority of teams struggled to the line with the bare number of riders needed, Dennis and his squad remained strong and coherent. Etixx QuickStep, who briefly held the fastest time, had enough in the tank to take second, despite starting with a man less after Tom Boonen crashed out on stage 4, and they will have seen enough to know that the gold medal in Doha is up for grabs.

"This shows why we’re the best in the world," Dennis said at the finish. "This was a very good test for Qatar. In the last 3km we averaged 60km/h to equal Etixx, and we came home six seconds quicker than them, so it’s a good way to finish."

The Australian, who is having a fine end to the season, would not rule out Sagan from coming back in the GC with two more days of the race remaining.

"It’s still Sagan. He’s only 27 seconds behind and he’s won every sprint stage, I think. If he gets a couple of Golden Kilometres bonus it makes a pretty difficult situation for us, so we have to race very smart, and he’s definitely, outside of our team, the biggest threat.

"We still have Greg [Van Avermaet], and Taylor is second as well. So we’ve got myself and Taylor in first and second. We’re in a great position. We’ve got cards to play and we’re going to play them."

Among the other squads, Team Sky posted a decent time of 23:49 but they were soon eclipsed by Lotto Soudal, a team still brimming with motivation after a long campaign. IAM Cycling then posted a respectable 23:37 before Etixx, and then BMC dominated. Movistar, another strong time trial team, finished fourth at 23:36.

Brief results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1BMC Racing Team0:23:11 
5IAM Cycling0:23:37 
6Lotto Soudal0:23:40 
9Team Sky0:23:49 
General classification after stage 5:
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team13:40:47 
2Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team0:00:16 
3Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx-QuickStep0:00:24 
4Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff0:00:27 
5Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx-QuickStep  
6Jos van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo0:00:28 
7Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:00:29 
8Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:33 
9Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx-QuickStep0:00:36 
10Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx-QuickStep0:00:37 


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