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Eneco Tour 2015: Stage 7

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Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Eneco Tour. The sixth and final stage takes the riders 188.6 kilometres from St.Pieters-Leeuw to Geraardsbergen across the hilly and cobbled terrain of Flanders. 

 

As we pick up the action with over 100 kilometres already covered, we have a large breakaway two minutes up the road. The peloton aren't too worried about it at the moment and will be more concerned about the cobbled climbs coming up. 

58km remaining from 193km

We have 10 climbs to come before the end of today's stage and the breakaway are heading uphill. 

 

Coming up we have the fearsome Muur van Geraardsbergen, famous for its place in the Tour of Flanders. The riders will have to tackle it three times as part of a finishing circuit. 

 

The 14 breakaway riders roll through Geraardsbergen and hit the Muur. Things break up immediately as Kristijan Koren forces the issue. 

 

The peloton head up the Muur now. There has been a thinning out but no major fireworks just yet. 

 

You can see the names of those riders in the breakaway to the right of your screen, but it's all change after the Muur. We now have three men out front: Manuel Quinziato (BMC), Bjorn Leukemans (Wanty Groupe Gobert), and Yves Lampaert (Etixx-QuickStep).

 

Arnaud Démarre attacked over the top of the Muur but there has been a regrouping, and now it's Michael Valgren's (Tinkoff-Saxo) turn to go on the offensive as the road ramps up once more on the Bosberg. 

 

The peloton are starting to swallow up the remnants of that 14-man breakaway now. 

 

38km remaining from 193km

Things are breaking up now and we have a few groups on the road. There was a chasing trio but they were soon joined by a group behind and there's now a group of 10 giving chase. 

 

The riders are on the Denderoordberg now, just 700 metres long, and the chasing group receives a shake-up.

 

Quinziato is doing the bulk of the work in the lead group. The Italian was part of the World Championship winning BMC team time trial squad and looks hungry for the win today. 

 

The riders pass through the finish line and one lap now remains. The leaders head up to the top of the Muur while it's all action in the chasing group behind.

 

The chasing group comes onto the toughest section of the Muur, horribly steep and uneven. Ruddier Selig (Katusha) drops his chain and is soon caught by the peloton behind. He needs assistance from the team car but it's not at hand so he proceeds to head up on foot carrying his bike. 

 

Hoogerland and Valgren have been distanced from the chasers and are fighting to get back on. 

 

21km remaining from 193km

The leaders have just under two minutes on the chasing group as we head towards the final 20 kilometres. The golden kilometre and its bonus second lies just around the corner. 

 

As the peloton crests the Bosberg, Lars Boom (Astana) tries his luck and attacks off the front. 

 

The ever-changing chasing group is starting to take some shapel. We now have five riders in there: Simon Geschke and George Preidler (Giant-Alpecin), Dries Devenyns (IAM), Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx), and Gijs Van Hoecke (Topsport). They are 1:45 down on the leading trio.

 

Meanwhile Lotto-Soudal are doing a good job in the peloton to defend the race lead of Tim Wellens. André Greipel is currently heading things up and they're just 10 seconds behind the chasing group. 

 

The peloton catches the chase group and spoils the party. Van Hoecke is not best pleased and tries to go off the front again, but is soon pegged back. Simon Spilak then goes himself, but it's not looking good for attackers from this group as Lotto-Soudal look capable of closing any of these moves down with relative ease. 

10km remaining from 193km

Meanwhile, out from the trio are not losing much time - will they stay away to the finish? It's going to be tight but there are still some nasty climbs to come. 

 

Next up for the riders will be the Denderoordberg, which is 700 metres long with an average gradient of 8%. That should be the launchpad for a bid for stage honours from the leading group. The race finishes on the Muur van Geraardsbergen but only halfway up. 

 

The lead is now down to a minute as Wellens briefly loses his spot in the Lotto-Soudal train and has to come up and round to get himself back to safety. 

 

Leukemans leads onto the Denderoordberg, Quinziato is second wheel. 

 

Quinziato is probably the weakest climber of this group and is not willing to leave this until the final climb. His only option is to attack on this penultimate climb and open up an advantage. He has done just that and he's pulled out an advantage. 

 

What an attack from Quinziato! Lampaert is quickly dropped and although Leukemans hangs on briefly, he also falls away. On the flat now and Quinziato is heading for the win. 

 

3km remaining from 193km

Lampaert and Leukemans have joined up but they're half a minute behind Quinziato with 3km to go. They'll be battling it out for second place, that is if they can hold off the peloton. 

 

Quinziato's only individual win as a professional also came at the Eneco Tour, all the way back in 2006.

 

Quinziato comes into Geraardsbergen and begins to climb. He's out of the saddle but can enjoy this now.

 

Quinziato wins stage 7 of the Eneco Tour! 

The Italian faded on that final climb. There were nervy moments as the two chasers gained on him and bore down on him on the home straight. 7 seconds was the gap at the end but Quinziato timed it to perfection.

 

Van Avermaet leads the bunch across the line, where Tim Wellens is present and correct to wrap up his second GC victory at the Eneco in two years.

 

We'll have the top-10's for the stage and GC coming up for you very shortly. We'll also have a full report and photos on the way too. 

 

Here are the results from today's stage: 

 

1 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team 04:18:18
2 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 00:00:03
3 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step 00:00:08
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:00:38
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
6 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 00:00:40
7 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8 Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 00:00:42
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
10 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica GreenEdge

 

Final general classification after stage 7

 

1 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 26:31:59
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:00:59
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 00:01:17
4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:01:40
5 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing 00:01:48
6 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 00:01:54
7 Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo 00:02:02
8 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 00:02:11
9 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
10 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step

 

Quinziato: "I looked back with 500 metres to go and saw they were coming, and I thought either you win, or you die." 

 

That's it for our live coverage of this year's Eneco Tour. Check out our report from the day's stage below and keep tuned to Cyclingnews.com for all the latest news as it comes in. Thanks for joining. 

 

Wellens secures overall title at Eneco Tour

 

 

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