By Bjorn Haake
Gert Omloop of the Palmans-Cras team surprised heavy favourites Graeme Brown (Rabobank) and Robert Förster (Milram) to win the sprint of a seven-man front group in the Ronde van het Groene Hart. Brown was a close second, with Aart Vierhouten (Vacansoleil) in third. Förster missed the podium, finishing fourth.
ProTour teams Milram and Rabobank, as well as Professional Continental outfit Vacansoleil had the numbers in the end, but couldn't prevent the upset from the lone Palmans rider. There were several attacks from Vacansoleil team inside the last 20km, the most promising coming from Aart Vierhouten.
But besides shelling Paul Martens (Rabobank) and Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank), the attacks did little to the integrity of the remaining seven riders. They reached the final kilometre together, with Förster opening up the sprint early – too early, as it turned out. Milram's directeur sportif Ralf Grabsch was happy nonetheless. "We are on the right way. Everyone was very strong today, we used our initiative to bring about the decisive move."
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