Eneco Tour: Greipel blasts home first on stage four, Boom grabs race lead
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Eneco Tour: Greipel blasts home first on stage four, Boom grabs race lead

by Shane Stokes at 10:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Eneco Tour
Demare misses out on time bonuses and drops to third

andre GreipelGerman sprinter Andre Greipel thundered to victory on today’s fourth stage of the Eneco Tour, being helped by an impressive Lotto Belisol team inside the final three kilometres and then coming off the wheel of Lars Boom (Belkin) to nab the win.

Wearing the red jersey of sprint classification leader, he pulled well clear of the others and powered home. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) was on his wheel but faded and finished sixth; Giacomo Nizzolo (Saxo Tinkoff) edged out Boom for second, but the latter picked up a time bonus and moved into the race lead, one second clear of Greipel.

The race finished in his home town of Vlijmen and the Dutchman was elated to take over at the top.

Race leader Arnaud Demare (FDJ) finished out of the bonuses and dropped to third overall.

The GC battle will continue tomorrow in the 13.2 kilometre time trial from Sittard to Geleen.

Greipel had finished second, twelfth and fifth in the preceding three days and was very focussed on turning those near misses into a win. “We tried now three times and it didn’t work for different reasons. I think today we have shown we can do a really good leadout, and also with the team that is here,” he told Sporza.

“I am really happy that all the guys prepared the bunch sprint today because it was really hard to stay in front. I think it was a victory for everyone on the team today. Of course there was also a bit of pressure here to win a stage. Now we are happy that we finally got it.”

Today’s 169.6 kilometre stage was marked by a long distance break by four riders: Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil DCM), Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen), Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel) and Staf Scheirlinckx (Accent Jobs-Wanty) worked well to open a six minute lead, but the peloton was in control and gradually whittled away at this in the second half of the stage.

Jacobs, Tamouridis and Ligthart dropped Scheirlinckx inside the final 30 kilometres, with Ligthart then being forced to go back to the bunch after he suffered a front wheel puncture and the neutral service car wasn’t at hand.

The remaining two riders stayed together until twelve kilometres to go. Tamouridis continued alone as Jacobs dropped back, realising the game was up, but was himself caught ten kilometres from the line.

The peloton continued on to fight out a bunch sprint, although its number was reduced by a big crash which occurred with less than eight kilometres remaining. Greipel’s win sees him end the day just one second behind new leader Boom, but he rules out an assault on the overall classification.

“The GC is not the goal we wanted to do here,” said the German sprinter. “Tomorrow is the time trial and then there will be hard stages that are not suited to me.”

He’s fine with that. Asked if the race was already a success for the Lotto Belisol team, he was clear in his answer. “Yes. I think for the team it is really good now.”

How it played out:

Stage four of the Eneco Tour took the riders 169.6 kilometres from Essen to Vlijmen, and was predicted as being most likely to finish in a bunch sprint. Things were tight overall with FDJ rider Arnaud Demare starting the stage just one second clear of the 2012 race winner Lars Boom (Belkin) and needing to be very attentive.

Early on Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil DCM), Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen), Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel) and Staf Scheirlinckx (Accent Jobs-Wanty) clipped away and built a lead of almost six minutes. This wavered but was still at that level with seventy kilometres remaining.

By the time the riders reached the finish line for the first of three passages, that gap was under three and a half minutes, with teams such as Katusha and Demare’s FDJ working to keep things manageable. The driving by those and others continued to reduce the break’s advantage to under a minute and a half with 40 kilometres remaining, and over the next ten kilometres this further plummeted to just thirty seconds.

Ligthart was concerned and jumped clear. Tamouridis and Jacobs were able to get back up to him, while Scherlinckx had nothing more to give and went back to the peloton.

Jacobs did what he had done at the first two intermediate sprints and took top points, also picking up a total of nine seconds in bonuses.

With seventeen seconds to go, the trio had a 36 second advantage. Ligthart called for assistance due to a slow puncture in his front tyre. He raised his arm to gesture for support, but was left waiting a considerable length of time and lost his place at the front.

He was caught and passed by the bunch, and had to drop right to the back to get a new wheel.

Inside the final twelve kilometres Tamouridis pushed ahead of Jacobs, who was quickly caught. The Greek rider hung on for another two kilometres but was then gobbled up, drifting back in a peloton which was utterly focussed on a sprint finish.

The teams continued to drive the pace but Saxo Tinkoff’s Matti Breschel was strong enough to leap clear. He opened a small gap over the bunch, which was marred by a crash which took down several riders and delayed a considerable number of others.

Breschel was reeled in six kilometres from the line, after which the Belkin team took over and tried to keep the pace high and control things. They held on at the front for two kilometres but were then passed by a Saxo Tinkoff team that was working for Daniele Bennati. Behind, the Lotto Belisol team were riding very hard to try to get back up to the front, and were able to do that.

The Belgian team was riding hard for Andre Greipel, the rider wearing the red jersey, and led him into the final kilometre. Last year’s race winner Lars Boom was sitting one place ahead of him in second heading into the finish, and led out the sprint with about 300 metres to go .

Greipel bided his time, though, and had little problem in jumping clear and then rocketing in for the stage win.

Eneco Tour (WorldTour)

Stage 4, Essen to Vlijmen:

1, André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) 169.9 kilometres in
2, Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack Leopard)
3, Lars Boom (Belkin Pro Cycling Team)
4, Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
5, Alexander Porsev (Katusha)
6, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)
7, Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge)
8, Yauheni Hutarovich (AG2R La Mondiale)
9, Elia Viviani (Cannondale Pro Cycling)
10, Chris Sutton (Sky Procycling)

Overall classification after stage four:

1, Lars Boom (Belkin Pro Cycling Team)
2, André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) at mins 1 secs
3, Arnaud Demare (FDJ) at 3 secs
4, Zdenek Styabr (Omega Pharma Quick Step) at 6 secs
5, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) at 7 secs
6, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) at 9 secs
7, Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma Quick Step) at 13 secs
8, Giacomo Nizzolo (Radioshack Leopard) at 15 secs
9, Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) at 17 secs
10, Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen) at 17 secs


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