Stage three’s third place finisher Luke Durbridge moved up to second place at the Benelux Tour after finishing in the reduced front group on a hilly stage five, which saw teammate Jack Bauer animate the day, going into the main breakaway.
The 192km hilly stage began with a flurry of riders trying to get into various moves, with Bauer able to get away with two other riders for company. The trio quickly opened a gap of over two minutes and hovered out front for most of the stage.
Once the sprint teams got themselves organised, the trio were eventually reeled back in with just 11km to go. On a twisty run-in to the uphill finish line, the peloton split, with Durbridge the highest placed finisher for Team BikeExchange, coming home in the front group in 33rd place.
Durbridge’s jump up in the classification comes after some misfortune from his competitor Kasper Asgreen, who suffered from a mechanical problem and began the day in second place overall. Race leader Stefan Bissiger dropped off the pace and was unable to make the front split in the final, allowing Durbridge to climb the classification.
The Australian now starts tomorrow’s penultimate stage in second place overall, just two seconds behind the new race leader.
Luke Durbridge – 2nd overall
“I’m now second on the general classification which is good. Unfortunately, Kasper Asgreen had a mechanical issue but that can happen and he is still not so far away.
The boys rode fantastically; from the start they tried to get into the breakaway and Jack did an amazing job to get in the break and rode super strong. We were riding really hard from behind in the peloton and couldn’t catch Jack until the end so it was a very big ride for him today.
Everyone else did a really fantastic job, putting me in the right position during the stage which was like a semi-classicwith a lot of positioning and a lot of big efforts from the boys to get me up there.
I feel good and managed to stay up there in the front group and move up on GC. One-day at a time and we are going at it again tomorrow so we will see how it goes”.
“It was a strong breakaway but ultimately too small, already with 40km to go we were down to just two of us working so it was a big ask to stay away from the bunch on that final lap.
I picked today as a good stage to gamble for a good win for the breakaway, but once we got onto the circuit it was a little too hard out the back into the headwind to hold off a chasing bunch.
We tried; we gave it everything. Once I was caught the whole team was working for Durbridge and they did a really good job positioning him into the final two climbs.”
2021 Benelux Tour – Stage 5 results:
1. Caleb Ewan 4:26:24
2. Sonny Cobrelli ST
3. Danny van Poppel ST
33. Luke Durbridge (Team BikeExchange) ST
General Classification after stage 5:
1. Stefan Kung 15:28:08
2. Luke Durbridge (Team BikeExchange) +0:02
3. Christophe Laporte +0:06
Photo courtesy of Getty Images