10 September 2015
After starting the day in Scotland, the Tour of Britain headed towards the north of England, but bypassed the busy city of Newcastle to find refuge in Blyth. Over a course without any major climbs, the riders at the British race put on a good show for the run into town. An early breakaway slipped away from the peloton, but the sprinters teams, as well as those teams eyeing the general classification, held a tight grip on the proceedings. And in the end, the final sprint was enjoyed by the specialists, though the precocious Colombian stagiaire for Etixx-Quickstep, Fernando Gaviria ignored any expectation that he would yield to his elders. He out-paced no less a duo than André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) to the line for the win. Juan José Lobato (Movistar) retained his yellow jersey, though the coming stages will put a strain on his lead since there will be greater climbs to face. The IAM Cycling racing, as announced yesterday, stood behind Jonas Van Genechten for the sprint finish today. The Belgian, helped by his teammates, made a huge effort to get on terms with the sprinters in the difficult finale, and ended with a strong 6th place.
Before transferring by bus to the next hotel, Jonas Van Genechten was keen to discuss this new and complicated finish that the Tour of Britain organizers set up. A 6th place is not too bad, but the team worked so hard for me, I would have really liked to have done better. I felt good the whole day. The speed was faster and faster as we approached the city. My teammates tried hard to help me; both Roger Kluge and Sondre Holst Enger proved invaluable on these tight turns that we had to negotiate before the final straight, which was into a strong headwind. Just after the last turn, I pumped out my maximum effort in order to get on terms, but I started from too far away to hope to have a shot at winning.
Kjell Carlström, one of the directeurs sportifs for IAM Cycling along with Rubens Bertogliati, appreciated the collective work that the team did. All the guys performed their own duties perfectly. There was nothing really special to report from the day. Movistar and Sky took great care to control the six escapees, and in the end we made every effort to help Jonas. It was difficult because of the narrowness of the roads, and the number of turns, but Roger Kluge road to his max before relaying the job to Sondre Holst Enger. Unfortunately, Sondre and Jonas had to slow for the final curve. Jonas found himself in 15th position when he had to produce his top effort in the finishing straight. The headwind helped, but it was too far to expect a better result. Now we will shift our focus to favor the climbers in the coming days. Stefan Denifl has been feeling more comfortable these past days, so we will try to place him well for the summit finish at this Tour of Britain.