Tony Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) heads into Sunday's fifth and final stage of the Tour of Belgium with a 40 second lead over Tom Dumoulin (Argos - Shimano). Should the Belgian win, it will be his second overall victory of the season having won the Volta ao Algarve in February.
Martin's team led the chase for the seven-man breakaway from which stage winner Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) emerged solo in the final kilometre.
"My teammates really had to work hard," Martin said after keeping the red leader's jersey which he's worn since taking out the individual time trial on Stage 3. "There was a break in front of seven guys and we really had to work hard to get them back. I really have to thank the team. They did incredible work today. The final was harder than I expected. We had three small climbs in the final lap, and with having to bring the small group back the team was really at the limit. Tomorrow will be tough again, as teams will try to go on the attack in the final stage. But we will do our best just like we did today."
Dumoulin will be satisfied if he can defend his second overall, which should guarantee victory in the young rider classification, in which he holds a 34 second advantage over Alexey Tsatevich (Katusha).
The Dutchman's teammate Reinardt Janse van Rensburg sprinted to seventh place on Stage 4.
"It was our goal today to consolidate our GC standing with Tom Dumoulin and to get a good result with Reinardt at the finish," said Aike Visbeek. "The boys did a solid race on the hard course and worked to get the break back and to get Reinardt in a good position at the finish. He made it to the top 10 despite being boxed in, so they've done a good job."