Boonen blows them away in Balen
Clad in his rainbow stripes of world champion, Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) did not let his many fans down when he sprinted to a fine victory in his home town of Balen. A huge crowd had come out to watch the world champ on his home turf, and in the pouring rain, they were rewarded with a perfect sprint. Quick.Step controlled things well in the final kilometre with Wouter Weylandt and Steven de Jongh, and Boonen powered home a bike length ahead of Julian Dean (Credit Agricole) and Simone Cadamuro (Milram).
George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) finished in the peloton and there were no changes to the overall general classification.
A delighted Boonen described the atmosphere at the finish as, "Unbelievable! Today in Balen there were more people than last year when I came back to Belgium with the world champion jersey. It's a success that has a particular taste, [it] doesn't happen every day to win in your home-town wearing the rainbow jersey."
In typically understated style, Boonen credited the win to his Quick.Step team-mates. "I have to thank all my team-mates that have understood how important this stage was for me," he said. "I’m also happy to ride the Eneco Tour, it's a well organise race, excellent for the training and to improve the basic condition."
The main break of the day saw Michael Elijzen (Cofidis), Nicolas Portal (Caisse d'Epargne), Sébastien Portal (Credit Agricole), Bert Roesems (Davitamon-Lotto), Mathew Hayman (Rabobank), Thomas Lövkvist (Française des Jeux) and Koen Barbé (Chocolade Jacques) escaped after 32 km and stay away until 10 km to go. They never got more than 3'00 as Quick.Step and Discovery Channel controlled things tightly.
Click here for the full results, report & photos from stage 5.