Overall Objectives Remain Within Reach After Eneco Tour Stage TwoTue 13 Aug 2013
Daryl Impey, Jens Keukeleire, Pieter Weening and Sebastian Langeveld remain well-poised for a solid overall showing at the Eneco Tour. After the opening two days of racing, all four sit 15” behind stage two winner and race leader Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr).
“We are in good position for the next coming days,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “The time trial on Friday will be the most important for the overall, and we have four guys still in contention. Let’s hope we come into the time trial in this same situation, and anything is possible.”
An early escape group again dominated the action ahead of the finale. Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise teammates Laurens De Vreese and Tim Declercq, Gediminas Bagdonas (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Mat Hayman (Team Sky) jumped away from the bunch shortly after the stage start in Vorst. The quartet stretched out their lead to seven minutes over the lumpy, punchy course.
“We didn’t need to have anyone in the early moves because almost everybody knew there was only a small, small chance the breakaway would make it to the end,” explained Lapage. “Our plan today was to ride for Jens Keukeleire as the leader in the sprint with Daryl as his main lead-out man.”
Omega Pharma-QuickStep pushed the pace over the penultimate ascent as the field closed in on the peloton. Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) jumped away from the field on the climb with Matti Breschel (Saxo-Tinkoff) quickly bridging across to him.
Fourteen kilometres from the finish, Badgonas lost contact with the early escape and eventually joined Terpstra and Breschel. Hayman was the first over the final summit, gaining a slim advantage over Declercq and De Vreese. By the time the peloton reached the 10km mark, Bagdonas, Terpstra and Breschel were back in the bunch and the Topsport Vlaanderen riders had rejoined Hayman in the lead. The trio had a one minute advantage over the peloton.
ORICA-GreenEDGE, Argos-Shimano, Belkin, Garmin-Sharp, BMC, and FDJ.fr applied pressure to the chase, easily eating into the leaders’ advantage. Two kilometres from the finish, it was gruppo compatto ahead of the uphill sprint.
Overnight race leader Mark Renshaw (Belkin) suffered an untimely puncture, ruling him out of contention for the finish and ultimately causing him to lose the overall lead. Although the incident occurred inside the final 3km, the peloton split in the sprint. While Renshaw had enough time to make contact with the field after his puncture, he lacked the time to make his way to the front.
BMC led out the sprint for Philippe Gilbert. Demare marked the World Champion, jumping around him in the final 200 metres. Gilbert was forced to settle for second. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) rounded out the podium.
The uphill sprint split the field and only 11 riders were awarded the same time as Demare. André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) led home the second group, listed at 5”, in 12th place. Keukeleire slotted into 13th on the stage.
“We had hoped to bring Daryl and Jens in into the chicane in the last kilometre in the top five,” explained Lapage. “The boys said after that they were too far back. It was a really nervous finish today. It wasn’t easy to be at the front.”