Team Columbia's sprinter André Greipel took his tenth victory of the season in stage two of the Eneco Tour on Friday. The German, who led the ProTour after taking four stages and the overall at the series' first event, the Tour Down Under, beat Argentina's Juan Jose Haedo (CSC-Saxo Bank) and Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner) in a rain-soaked sprint finish in Nieuwegein, in the north of the Netherlands. Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) was fourth and stage one winner Tom Boonen was fifth.
The team also moved its young Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen into a near tie with Spain's Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) for the overall classification through time bonuses at the intermediate sprints. Hagen now trails Gutierrez by just 16 hundredths of a second - that fraction determined by the opening prologue time trial.
Team director Tristan Hoffman said that the close margin means it could be possible to take the overall lead from Caisse d'Epargne in the next few days. "However we don't want to wear out the team and then lose the race by several minutes. We're going to ride smart," he said.
Greipel, the winner of a stage in the Giro d'Italia, took the stage in a photo-finish sprint against Haedo. "I've lost count of how many sprints André has won this year," said Hoffman. "He dominated the Tour Down Under in Australia and has won another ProTour stage here. He and all the team were good today.
"John Devine and Servais Knaven worked with other teams to chase the break and then the boys dominated the sprint. There were two lead out trains: Columbia and Liquigas for Bennati but we were the fastest yet again."
See also Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Eneco Tour.