Dennis went into the final gruelling stage to Geraardsbergen in Belgium with a 27 second advantage over Dutchman Terpstra, who started in fifth overall. However, a heavy fall for Dennis during the stage that featured cobbles and bergs used in the Classics first saw the Australian lose time, and then drop out completely due to his injuries.
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Terpstra, meanwhile, was riding hard in the front group of three riders in a seriously fractured race. The stage win came from his breakaway companion Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), who had launched a later attack to win by a couple of seconds ahead of Terpstra with Oliver Naesen (IAM Cycling) in third.
Behind, former race leader and double stage winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) was chasing in a group with Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing). They couldn’t catch the lead trio, and Sagan settled for sixth to finish the race in third spot overall behind Terpstra and Naesen.
Top-placed British rider was Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), who finished in 32nd place overall.
Sagan’s results at the race put him back at the top of the UCI’s WorldTour rankings, shifting Vuelta a España winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) down to second.
Many of the riders had been using the seven-stage race as a sharpener before the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in mid-October. Dennis is due to represent Australia in the individual time trial, so his crash and subsequent injuries may hamper his preparations.
Defending world champion Sagan, Olympic champion Van Avermaet and time trial favourite Dumoulin, however, all look to be reaching peak form for Qatar.
Eneco Tour 2016, stage seven: Bornem (Bel) to Geraardsbergen (Bel), 197.8km
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data in 4-03-27
2. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx-QuickStep at 2 secs
3. Oliver Naesen (Bel) IAM Cycling at same time
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 43 secs
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing at same time
6. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff at 47 secs
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at same time
8. Jos van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 49 secs
9. Ion Izaguirre (Esp) Movistar
10. Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana at same time
Final general classification
1. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx-QuickStep in 22-43-26
2. Oliver Naesen (Bel) IAM Cycling at 31 secs
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff at 1-00
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing at 1-02
5. Jos van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1-03
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1-11
7. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx-QuickStep at 1-15
8. Ion Izaguirre (Esp) Movistar at 1-19
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 1-22
10. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx-QuickStep at 1-31