Niki Terpstra rides to victory in Eneco Tour

A strong performance on the treacherous cobbles of Flanders and a flawless tactic of Etixx – Quick-Step catapulted the Dutchman at the top of the overall standings.

Rain, cobblestones and a tough course with 17 hills made for a psychedelic picture on Sunday, when the 12th edition of the Eneco Tour wrapped up after one of the most thrilling stages in its history. The day started under a blue sunny sky, but things changed dramatically in the afternoon, when the rain made the roads really slippery and split the group, before taking out of the race general classification leader Rohan Dennis (BMC), who crashed inside the last 50 kilometers.

On the second of the three laps the peloton had to cover in the final part of the punishing stage 7 (Bornem – Geraardsbergen, 197.8 kilometers), Luxembourg champion Bob Jungels attacked and forced an important selection. The newly-formed group, that included also Niki Terpstra, quickly opened on the chasers a gap of 20 seconds, which continued to grow thanks to the tremendous pace setting of an indefatigable Bob Jungels, who pushed the pedal to the metal and played a decisive role in the outcome of the week-long race.

Victorious in Le Samyn and Dwars door het Hageland this season, both wins which came in atrocious weather conditions, Niki Terpstra was the main engine of that small group after Bob's job was done and spent a huge amount of energy at the front, taking the Golden Kilometer bonus seconds and taming the cobbles of the Muur-Kapelmuur and Bosberg, two climbs which throughout the years witnessed how legends were born and dreams got shattered.

His glittering display under a sky full of tumultuous, dark and ragged clouds, coming straight from a painting of fellow Dutchman Jacob Abels, helped 32-year-old Niki take overall honors at the end of the grueling stage which he concluded in second place, behind Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data).