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Defending Eneco Tour champion Lars Boom in action
Defending champ one second behind Demare
Belkin's overall hope at the Eneco Tour, Lars Boom, edged that little bit closer to his objective on Wednesday finishing third on 187km Stage 3 to Schouwen-Duiveland and gaining six seconds in the process.
Boom is now just one second off the overall lead at the race, with Arnaud Demare (FDJ) after the Frenchman finishing in the bunch, two seconds off the pace of the lead three riders across the finish line, with Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) taking the win.
Stybar, Boom and Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Lampre-Merida) escaped off the front in the final kilometre but the Dutchman was out-gunned when it mattered.
"I attacked too early," said Boom about his sprint. "I needed to sit in during the last metres, which was when they passed me. Anyway, if I had waited longer, they would have stayed in my wheel and it would have been difficult to win, as well."
Boom had extra motivation to take the win on Wednesday and the race lead, with Stage 4 reaching its conclusion in his hometown of Vlijmen.
"It's a pity I didn't win because I would've been able to enter Vlijmen in the leader's jersey," he said. "Nevertheless, it will be a special day, as a pro I have never ridden through Vlijmen."
Thursday's fourth stage should be another opportunity for a bunch sprint and then after Friday's time trial, the Eneco Tour is set to reach its crescendo with two stages in classics territory. The bonus seconds that the 27-year-old collected with his third place keep Boom in the hunt but he knows that he'll have to produce something special if he wants to claim the overall for the second year running.
"I gathered some seconds again; that's really motivating when I think of Saturday and Sunday," Boom said. "Although those stages have a totally different character. I may come up with another set of legs for those days."