Rider of the Week: September Week 4

With the culmination of both the Eneco Tour and Autumnal Italian classics this week, making the shortlist in this edition of Rider of the Week is going to be a tough task. With the new position of the Eneco Tour and one day nature of the Italian classics, we have seen some aggressive and dogged riding over the past couple of days, riders eager to build their form for the impending World Championships. The week has also been marred by crashes, riders dreams of glory being dashed in an instant. Hopefully a mention on this week’s shortlist may lift their spirits somewhat…

 Rohan Dennis

 After winning stage 2’s individual time trial at the Eneco Tour in dominant style, the only way was up for the Aussie time trialist. Cementing his lead in the competition by taking more time in stage 5’s TTT, Dennis looked like he had already wrapped up the race win. He went into the final stage confident that he could hold off the likes of the Classics specialists, Terpstra and Sagan, however with around 50km he suffered an unfortunate crash that subsequently lost him the race.

 It was then a final 50km of heartbreak for Dennis, riding in clear pain he decided to abandon the race on the final lap of the circuit. Whilst he may not have taken victory in the event, Dennis demonstrated qualities across the week worthy of a mention in this week’s shortlist. Dominant in the time trials, he dragged his whole team of BMC to a victory on stage 5. The form he is currently showing is incredible, if he can recover from his injuries sustained in the crash, then he will go to the World Championships as one of, if not the main, favourite to take the time trial title.

 Beating the likes of Tony Martin and Tom Domoulin against the clock is becoming a regular occurrence for Dennis, he is slowly affirming himself as one of the best time trialists currently riding in the pro peloton. A young talent with potential GC ambitions, he will very quickly become a hot prospect that many teams will be looking at over the winter ‘transfer’ months

 Niki Terpstra

 Taking the overall win in the Eneco Tour was always an ambition of Terpstra going into the event; however, he would not have expected to take it through the result of the race leader crashing out of the race. 

 Nonetheless, his attack in the final kilometers alongside Boasson Hagen and Naesen deservedly gifted him the victory. It is arguable that even if Dennis would not have crashed, Terpstra’s devastating attack would have been enough to take the race win anyway.

 A one day specialist, Terpstra saved all of his efforts for the final classic-esque stage. Always up there in the time trials, he went into the climax of this race looking to make up 27 seconds on Dennis. It was when the cobbles began in which Terpstra made his race winning move, alongside Boasson Hagen and Naesen, he built up a healthy time gap, taking 40 seconds from the main group of favourites, including Domoulin, Sagan and Van Avermaet.

 His performance in this Eneco Tour has highlighted his end of season form, a rider that can never be discounted across any parcour, he goes to the world championships as a dark horse for the victory. The race has been built up to be one for the sprinters, but with so many one-day classic specialists attending, it is hard to see a classic bunch sprint occurring. If the race does get tough, expect Terpstra to be right to the fore of the action.

 Oliver Naesen

Yet another IAM rider gifting their team with good results in their twighlight season, its a case of ‘a little too late’ for the Swiss based cycling team. Nevertheless, this cannot take anything away from Naesen’s incredible ride over the week long Eneco Tour.

 Flying way under the radar, Naesen didn’t even reach the top ten until after the final stage. Always up there in the road stages and time trials, Naesen had kept himself out of trouble and within touching distance of a possible top ten on GC. No one could have expected his ride on stage 7, probably not even himself. Joining the attack of Terpstra and Boasson Hagen, Naesen seized an opportunity to excel himself up the GC.

 The attack stuck and took over 40 seconds from the group of main favourites, Naesen propelling himself from outside the top ten to second overall. In one of the most opportunistic displays of riding this season, Naesen managed to steal the podium place from the World Champion himself, Peter Sagan. A welcome victory for IAM despite their closure come the end of the season, Naesen’s achievements will be an impressive final swansong for the Swiss outfit.

 Sonny Colbrelli

 Colbrelli took victory in an extremely hectic sprint in a chaotic final lap of the Tre Valli Varesine race, beating both prolific Italian fast-men Gavazzi and Ulissi to the line. The victory in this race meant that Colbrelli made it two out of three in the trio of races referred to as the Trittico Lombardo.

 The Italian sprinter has had a startling season, seven victories throughout the year, three of which being in Italian one-day races over the past months. With his recent form and winning confidence, Colbrelli definitely looks like a dark horse for this year’s World Championships.

 Demonstrating his fierce acceleration, he shot past the other contenders for the Tre Valli Varesine victory. In a quote from CyclingNews Colbrelli described himself as being ‘on the limit, but so was everybody else.’ This kind of resilience is a quality that will now put him into the spotlight as a possible leader for the Italian team come the World Championships in early October.

 If the race is made tough and Colbrelli finds himself in a select front group, he possess a fast sprint that could possibly surprise other riders going for the Worlds win. With his current startling form and at long odds of 150/1 with Bet365, he is definitely worth mentioning come the preview for this year’s World Championships.

Voting will commence as soon as this article is released and will be live until Wednesday evening when the winner of Rider of the Week will be announced. Make sure you keep checking to see how your favourite rider is fairing in the polls throughout the day! Poll will be released on twitter, search @insidepeloton96.