Orica-GreenEdge stated its objective for the 2016 Tour de Slovenia was to chase stage wins and immediately met its aims as Belgian Jens Keukeleire sprinted to the victory in Koper ahead of Lampre-Merida’s Diego Ulissi. Jack Haig then won the bunch sprint, three seconds behind Keukeleire as the peloton split on the finishing circuit.
Keukeleire’s win sees the Belgian assume overall race leadership as well as the lead in the points classification.
“It was a hard stage today,” said Keukeleire. “There were a few teams trying to control the race but it was a good course for me, I’m pretty fast on that kind of finish.
“I have to thank the whole team but especially Jack (Haig). His attack on the final climb got rid of a lot of the faster guys and then he committed fully to set me up perfectly for the finish.”
The win was Keukeleire’s first since back-to-back stages at the 2013 Vuelta a Burgos with the 27-year-old adding he was pleased to repay the hard work of his teammates.
“We raced very intelligently today and also with some luck. I am really happy with how we raced as a team, the way we attacked in the final and I’m thankful that I had the strength to finish it off,” he added.
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