Eneco Tour Stage 6: Alaphilippe Top 15 out of Select Chase Group
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Julian Alaphilippe remains in 11th place overall after earning a 14th place finish in the 208km Stage 6, from Heerlen to Houffalize, on Saturday. The stage was one of attrition. The race came down to a small group of riders along the 18 short, but steep, climbs of the day.
Alaphilippe was part of a 19-rider lead group that formed with about 45.9km to go, after a lead group of eight riders was joined by a group of chasers.
Soon after the group formed, Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling) went ahead solo. He was eventually caught, but Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin) and Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) then went ahead, with about seven riders chasing behind including Alaphilippe. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) attacked and chased the two leaders down on his own. He first left behind Rogers when he caught the duo at the 22.5km to go mark, with Geschke on his wheel. But on a steep section of a climb he then distanced Geschke and went on to win the stage solo.
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) tried to chase down Wellens, but was unsuccessful. Van Avermaet and Geschke took the two remaining podium places, less than a minute down from Wellens. Alaphilippe crossed 1'21" down.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to the 188.6km 7th and final stage, from Sint-Pieters-Leeuw to Geraardsbergen, on Sunday. This stage is where the cobbled climbs come into play at Eneco Tour. These cobbled ascents include the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen, which once was included in Ronde van Vlaanderen. The riders will climb it once as part of a finishing circuit, and the race concludes halfway to the summit on the second ascent.