Breakthrough for Kopp
Gerolsteiner rider David Kopp won the bunch sprint of stage 6 of the Eneco Tour of Benelux in St. Truiden, Belgium, on Tuesday. The German left Marco Zanotti (Unibet.com) and Phillippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) to take second and third placings respectively, but raced the finish straight in front.
"Two kilometres before the finish, I got the green light from 'Schumi'," Kopp said, explaining why the Gerolsteiner team didn't try to get Stefan Schumacher to the front in search for bonus seconds for the general classification. "I got out of the last curve in perfect position, and then gave it full gas on the last 400 metres in front - that was so cool!"
Kopp's teammate Schumacher is still second-placed on GC behind George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), as the overall classification did not change with the bunch sprint. However, a mass crash some 60 kilometres from the finish took out several riders, amongst them Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile), Leif Hoste (Discovery Channel) and Carlos Da Cruz (Francaise des Jeux).
The day saw a 190 kilometre-long breakaway from Grégory Rast (Phonak Hearing Systems), Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto), Andoni Aranaga Azkune (Euskaltel) and Sebastian Langeveld (Skil-Shimano) - but with the sprinter's teams putting the pressure on after the Muur de Huy, the escapists were caught with two kilometres to go.
With Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher only three seconds behind Hincapie, the Eneco Tour of Benelux will thus be decided in Wednesday's stage 7, which will see the riders tackle some of the famous climbs of Liège-Bastogne-Liège - perfect terrain for an exciting finale.
Click here for the full results, report & photos from stage 6.