Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 1 of the BinckBank Tour
The racing is non-stop at the moment and no sooner has the WorldTour Tour de Pologne finished that we have another WorldTour event underway with the BinckBank Tour. Don't be confused, this is not a new race, but a renamed Eneco Tour. It follows a similar Classics format and you can read our preview here.
118km remaining from 169km
A group of four riders escaped up the road almost as soon as the flag dropped and they have two minutes currently on the peloton.
The riders in the breakaway are Piet Allegart (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Mark McNally (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Laurens de Vreese (Astana) and Elmar Reinders (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij),
If you missed the news this morning, Alberto Contador made an announcement. He confirmed that he would indeed be riding the Vuelta a Espana later this month. The Spanish Grand Tour will be the final race of his career. Read the full story here.
LottoNl-Jumbo are manning the front of the bunch at the moment. They've got Dylan Groenewegen in their line-up and they want a sprint finish. Groenewegen took the biggest win of his career at the Tour de France last month as he beat Andre Greipel to claim victory on the Champs Elysees.
Today really is one for the sprints with hardly a meter of climbing to talk about. If LottoNL-Jumbo want Groenewegen to win, he'll have to beat a very strong group of sprinters. Marcel Kittel is back in action after crashing out of the Tour de France. Andre Greipel is also in the bunch as is Peter Sagan. Astana also has Andrea Guardini.
The gap continues to hover around the two-minute mark for the escapees with just 87km remaining.
Peter Sagan, who is racing for the second time at the BinckBank Tour/Eneco Tour is keeping very relaxed at the back of the peloton. This is his second race since being disqualified from the Tour de France. He won a stag and the points classification at the Tour de Pologne last week.
Here are the four out front. Their gap has dropped to 1:45 over the peloton.
Breaking news: Nathan Haas has signed for Katusha-Alpecin for 2018. Read the full story here.
That gap continues to edge down as the riders approach the day's feed zone. There are two intermediate sprints in the latter part of this stage as well as the golden kilometre between the 23 to go mark and 22 to go. There are bonus seconds available here, which could be crucial later in the race.
There has been quite a lot of transfer news today. As well as Contador retiring and Haas moving to Katusha, Quick-Step Floors has confirmed that they've kept hold of Gilbert for two years, while Magnus Cort is heading to Astana next season.
There is now a mixture of teams manning the front of the peloton. Marcus Burghardt is the rider right at the front of affairs for Bora-Hansgrohe. Iljo Keisse is up there for Quick-Step Floors while we've also got representatives from LottoNL-Jumbo and Sport Vlaanderen.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Mon, 7th Aug 2017 13:10:36
55km remaining from 169km
The breakaway is looking very relaxed at the moment, perhaps they have already accepted the inevitable catch as the peloton keeps them at 1:36 with a little over 50km to go.
With no leader just yet and a number of riders who are able to win to today, there is a lot of cooperation at the front of the peloton. The teams have been rolling through and taking their turn with Bram Tankink no on the front for LottoNL-Jumbo.
Today's stage features a finishing circuit. In just under 10km time - with 41.8km to go - the riders will pass the finish line for the first time. It is in that loop that they will go through the intermediate sprints and the golden kilometre. They will have to navigate a whole bunch of roundabouts two, which is often the case in Dutch and Belgian races.
One thing to note is that Peter Sagan could reach the milestone of 100 wins this week. It's a tough ask, but he just needs three more to make it that incredible milestone.
Less than a minute now for our escapees as Burghardt sets the pace again.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Mon, 7th Aug 2017 13:35:31
38km remaining from 169km
AG2R La Mondiale has put their face in the wind and really taken a big chunk out of the leaders' advantage. As they set off on this circuit, the lead is now just 36 seconds.
Quick-Step is having a word with the AG2R riders. They don't want to catch this breakaway too early and the gap is going back out just a little bit.
Allegaert wins the first intermediate sprint and thus earns himself some beer as a prize. Meanwhile, The peloton has stretched across the road as the gap to the leaders goes back up to almost a minute.
By allowing this break to stay away a little longer, the sprint teams are saving some energy by not having to chase down any breakaway attempts in the final kilometres.
Katusha-Alpecin and Dimension Data are moving up to the front now as the peloton pootles along. Dimension Data has a few options with Ryan Gibbons, Kristian Sbragli and Mark Renshaw. Katusha has Rick Zabel in their line-up. We can also see the rangy figure of Lotto Soudal's Marcel Sieberg.
That gap to the four breakaway riders has gone up to 1:42. After slowing things down, Quick-Step Floors is looking to quicken the pace. Keisse tries pushing up the speed but nobody else responds and he ends up riding off the front briefly. He looks over his shoulder and eases up a bit to allow the peloton to catch up with him.
The leaders are about to begin the golden kilometre. De Vreese leads the four through the first sprint. We'll see how the rest go.
De Vreese continues to charge along on the front and he's not facing any challenge from his break companions to get the points and bonus seconds in any of the sprints.
19km remaining from 169km
The peloton takes the bell for the final of two laps of this finishing circuit. There is a bit more action in the bunch as Quick-Step and Dimension Data begin the charge gain. The gap is gradually coming down with 19km to go.
An attack in the bunch as the riders go for the intermediate sprint. Allegaert and Reinders go for it but it is the former that takes it once again. That's a nice haul of beer he's got for himself and teammates.
There is a lot of traffic furniture for the peloton to navigate in the closing kilometres of this stage. There will be a roundabout inside the final kilometre, which could prove the difference between winning and losing. Edvald Boasson Hagen showed in the Tour de France that getting the roundabout right could set you up for a win.
10km remaining from 169km
Just 10km to go as the sprinters' teams begin to line themselves up for this fast and furious finale. They can see the breakaway just ahead of them on this flat road with just 24 seconds separating the two groups.
Team Sky is trying to muscle their way to the front. They've got Elia Viviani for the finish. Viviani has hot-footed it from Denmark after coming second at the European Championships, showing that he's in fine form at the moment.
6km remaining from 169km
Laurens De Vreese doing his best impression of a basking shark as he tries to eek out the last bit of energy to keep this break alive. It's a fruitless job as the peloton is not just 15 seconds down.
Six teams represented at the front of the peloton as the roads allow it at the moment. Just 10 seconds for the escapees with 4.7km to go.
3km remaining from 169km
The teams not on the front are trying to get up there, but there is so little space now with so many teams trying to do the same. Let's hope we don't have any carnage in this finale.
2km remaining from 169km
The breakaway has finally been brought back by the peloton and it's full steam ahead for the sprint finish.
Peter Sagan is being guided up to the front as Marcel Kittel is trying to do the job himself. He's currently well back in the peloton.
Arnaud Demare is coming up the left of the bunch as Lotto Soudal drive things on.
Lotto Soudal leads the bunch under the flamme rouge.
Trek Segafredo has got up to the front as the peloton begins to break up.
Lotto Soudal goes early.
Lotto Soudal fades and it's a photo finish between Sagan and Bauhaus.
Looking at a replay from the line, it looked like Sagan had it but Bauhaus caught up in the lunge to the line. It's inconclusive though, but Bauhaus looks the likely winner here.
An over head shot of the photo finish gives the win to Sagan. My, my, that was close.
It is official now, Peter Sagan has won the stage ahead of Phil Bauhaus. Magnus Cort Nielson takes third place while Kittel failed to make the top 10.
This was the side shot of the sprint finish.
And this was the image that the organisers used to decide the day's winner.
This is how the stage finished today.
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
2 Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Team Sunweb
3 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott
4 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
5 Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
6 Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
7 Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
8 Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
9 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
10 Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
This is how the general classification looks after the first stage. Laurens De Vreese has got himself into second by taking all the bonus seconds in the golden kilometre.
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 3:49:59
2 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team 0:00:01
3 Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:00:04
4 Elmar Reinders (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
5 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott 0:00:06
6 Mark Mcnally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
7 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:10
8 Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9 Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
10 Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
Our report and photo gallery from stage 1 of the BinckBank Tour is available to look at here.
After a relatively straightforward sprint stage, the riders will face a 9km time trial tomorrow. Sagan is a decent time triallist, but he will have a tough job trying to keep hold of his leader's jersey.
@marcelkittel Mon, 7th Aug 2017 15:07:00
That is is from our live coverage today, we'll be back tomorrow for stage 2. I'll leave you with this shot from the sprint finish.
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