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Eneco Tour 2013

Date range:
August 12-18, 2013

August 15, Stage 4: Essen - Vlijmen 169.6km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Susan Westemeyer

Stage four of the Eneco Tour -- how will they avoid a mass sprint finish today?

  1. 14:29:19 CEST

    Welcome to stage four of the Eneco Tour. Today we travel 169.9 km from Essen to Vimen.

  2. 100km remaining from 169.6km

    14:30:41 CEST

    It will surely be no surprise to learn that a four-man group got away early today.  Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen), Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel), Staf Scheirlinckx (Accent Jobs-Wanty) and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil) were the lucky ones today. They built up a maximal lead of 5:40. Now, with 100km to go, the gap is 4:40.

  3. 14:34:19 CEST

    The good luck with the weather didn't hold today, as the stage started in the rain.

  4. 14:37:41 CEST

    Another mass sprint is expectd today – but why say “another”? We haven't had one yet! Who will figure out a way to fool the fast men today, and how?

  5. 14:40:42 CEST

    One problem is that the ending today is very tricky, with sharp turns at 1km, 700 m and 400 m to go. With the possibility of a wet finish, this sounds like an invitation for trouble.

  6. 14:47:55 CEST

    Zdenek Stybar (OPQS) won the sprint of a three-man group yesterday, much to everyone's surprise. Including his own. "I have never sprinted in my life. Even in training I didn't practice. The sprint is not my strongest point but probably after today I will change my mind because I was able to win.” he said.

    Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)

  7. 14:49:27 CEST


    “Maybe it is because I am sleeping in the same room as [Alessandro] Petacchi. Maybe his sprint power rubbed off on me." -- Zdenek Stybar
     

  8. 71km remaining from 169.6km

    14:50:17 CEST

    The gap has gone back up, to 5:38, with 71km to go.

  9. 14:52:49 CEST

    Don't forget to check out our excellent race preview here.
     

  10. 14:56:17 CEST

    Arnaud Demare (FDJ) is hanging on to the race lead by one tiny second, over last year's winner Lars Boom (Belkin).

    1     Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ     12:18:42      
    2     Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling     0:00:01      
    3     Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team     0:00:03      
    4     Mark Renshaw (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling            
    5     Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team     0:00:04      
     

  11. 14:58:50 CEST

    Is this a wide-open race? The top 88 riders are all within one minute of the leader.

  12. 15:00:43 CEST

    And because it is so close, Demare had ordered his team to give chase. That has worked, and with 64 km to go, the gap has now dropped to 3:58.

  13. 15:04:20 CEST

    You can't tell the players without a scorecard! Or in this case, the riders without a start list!

  14. 15:08:02 CEST

    Laurens De Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen) leads the points ranking.

    1     Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise     66      pts
    2     Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise     28      
    3     Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling     24      
    4     Benjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty     22      
    5     Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) Ag2R La Mondiale     22      
     

  15. 15:10:27 CEST

    Katusha has now moved to the ead of the field.

  16. 15:11:31 CEST

    And they come to the finish line!

    Before setting out on a circuit course, that is. Still 2 laps to go. And the gap is 3:22.

  17. 15:15:23 CEST

    The peloton has just gone around a traffic circle, with a number of riders cutting teh corner by using the bike path. We hear that the race jury has already said it will sanction anyone who gains an advantage by riding on the bike path or sidewalk. Let's see what happens today.

  18. 15:15:55 CEST

    A familiar picture: Wiggins trying to close a gap to the field ahead of him.

  19. 15:16:59 CEST

    Wiggins is not alone, he has 12-15 riders with him.

  20. 50km remaining from 169.6km

    15:18:27 CEST

    With 50 km to go, Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen), Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel), Staf Scheirlinckx (Accent Jobs-Wanty) and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil) have a gap of 2:41

    .
     

  21. 15:21:03 CEST

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) has a one-point lead in the sprint classification.

    1     André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol     45      pts
    2     Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida     44      
    3     Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling     41      
    4     Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard     41      
    5     Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team     32     

  22. 15:23:24 CEST

    Jacobs has now won the first two intermediate sprints. He not only gets points, but also time bonuses, 3 seconds each. So he is moving his way up in the GC.

  23. 15:24:43 CEST

    Katusha did its job too well. The gap has dropped to just two minutes with 45km to go, and as you know, we don't want to catch those escapees too soon...

  24. 15:27:57 CEST

    The peloton has evidently decided that since they are so close, they may as well keep on going full speed. The gap is now 1:42.

  25. 15:32:09 CEST

    And now down to 1:15, with 40km to go!

  26. 15:36:29 CEST

    FDJ leads the team ranking.

    1     FDJ     36:56:41      
    2     Belking Pro Cycling     0:00:01      
    3     Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team     0:00:03      
    4     BMC Racing Team     0:00:07      
    5     Orica-GreenEdge     0:00:10      

     

  27. 15:41:31 CEST

    There was a problem at the finish line earlier. The covering right at the line was flapping every time an auto drove over it. That would be a very bad thing to do when the peloton comes over!

    That covering has been removed (it covers the wires to measure the finish times and  record the finishers) and we hope that the organizers come up with something soon!

  28. 15:43:20 CEST

    The four leaders are still hanging on to their lead, 52 seconds with 31m to go.

  29. 15:45:10 CEST

    The lead group negotiates its way around the tricky closing turns and comes to the finish line.

  30. 15:45:53 CEST

    The field is very close now, as Orica-GreenEdge has pulled it along. The gap is only 30 seconds.

  31. 15:47:49 CEST

    Ligthart takes off, in hopes of staying away. Jacobs and Tamouridis go with him, but Scherlinckx decides to wait for the peloton.

  32. 15:49:27 CEST

    OPQS at the head of the field. They would certainly like to win two in a row.

  33. 15:51:23 CEST

    A Cannondale rider has punctured and pulls over to the side.

  34. 15:51:56 CEST

    Belkin now moves to the front, in hopes of putting Lars Boom into the lead after the stage.

  35. 15:54:41 CEST

    The gap is holding steady at around 30 seconds.

  36. 15:57:07 CEST

    The trio comes up to the third intermediate sprint of the day.

  37. 15:58:34 CEST

    Jacobs takes it to, so he has picked up nine seconds today. That moves him up to seventh overall, at least at the moment.

  38. 15:59:48 CEST

    Garmin and Belkin now leading the peloton. 17km to go and 36 seconds.

  39. 16:00:22 CEST

    The three leaders have become nervous and keep looking back to see where the field is.

  40. 16:00:53 CEST

    A problem for Ligthart -- he has punctured. That ends his chances.

  41. 16:03:10 CEST

    Ligthart has been caught by the peloton. He is sitll riding with his puncture, as there were no team or material cars between the leaders and the peloton.

    But now he has a replacement.

  42. 16:04:05 CEST

    Cannondale has lined up behind Belkin. That is a lot of green.

  43. 16:05:24 CEST

    With 14km to go, the peloton has the two leaders in it sights, only 13 seconds between them.

  44. 16:06:54 CEST

    Everyone is really flying along here, and the two will be caught momentarily.

  45. 16:07:38 CEST

    Jacobs sits up but Tamouridis still keeps going.

  46. 16:08:52 CEST

    Lars Boom has an extra incentive to do well today. The finish today is his birth ctiy, so he would really like to win the stage and/or take the leader's jersey.

  47. 16:09:39 CEST

    With 10nm to go, Tamouridis looks back, shakes his head, and lets the field fly by him.

  48. 16:10:30 CEST

    The rain has stopped, by the way, and the road is drying out.

  49. 16:11:57 CEST

    Sky, RadioShack, Saxo-Tinkoff all at the front of the field.

  50. 16:13:48 CEST

    Matti Breschel (Saxo-Tinkoff) takes off.

    Behin him a number of riders crash.

  51. 16:14:25 CEST

    Belkin has led the chase and caught Breschel.

  52. 16:14:57 CEST

    A Movistar rider and an Astana rider are still sittiing in the road after the crash.

  53. 16:15:44 CEST

    That crash split the field.

    5km to go.

  54. 16:17:17 CEST

    The gap in the peloton has been closed. 4km to go, but remember, we have lots of turns coming up, and that at full speed.

  55. 16:18:48 CEST

    Kittel was caught in teh crash, so we don't expect to see him in at the finish.

  56. 16:19:04 CEST

    Lotto blasts along as they approach the 1km marker.

  57. 16:19:37 CEST

    As we said, lots of turns and curves here....

  58. 16:20:04 CEST

    And the sprint is opened!

  59. 16:20:22 CEST

    Boom tries, Ferrar tries -- but it is Greipel!

  60. 16:21:23 CEST

    The "gorilla" goes back and hugs his teammates, who set him up so well.

  61. 16:22:36 CEST

    Boom was either second or third. We must wait and see who how got how many bonus seconds, to know who our new GC leader is.

  62. 16:23:14 CEST

    Nizzolo was second on the stage, and Boom third, with Petacchi fourth.

  63. 16:24:28 CEST

    It looks like our new GC is Boom first, with Greipel second at one second, and Demare third, three seconds down.

  64. 16:25:26 CEST

    It finally came to a mass sprint! The earlier sprint stages all featured a surprise ending, but not today.

  65. 16:26:03 CEST

    Our top ten on the stage:

    1    André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
    2    Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard
    3    Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
    4    Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
    5    Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
    6    Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
    7    Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge
    8    Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R La Mondiale
    9    Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
    10    Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Procycling

  66. 16:26:48 CEST

    And the top three in GC:

    General classification after stage 4   
       
    1    Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
    2    André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
    3    Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ

  67. 16:27:15 CEST

    That's it for today! Be sure to join us again tomorrow for the time trial, when we expect another shake up in the GC.