Edvald Boasson Hagen of Team Columbia made up for his error of the day before and won the sprint in the sixth stage of the Eneco Tour. Putting in a last minute burst of speed, he managed to get by a frustrated Jimmy Engoulvent (Credit Agricole), who pounded his handlebars in anger at being beaten, and Sergei Ivanov of Astana. Boasson Hagen's team-mate André Greipel held on to the leader's jersey.
Until Monday's stage, the 21 year-old Norwegian had been in second place overall only seconds behind his team-mate, but he dropped out of contention when he ended up on the wrong side of a split in the peloton on stage five and lost nearly 15 minutes.
"This is kind of revenge for what happened yesterday," Boasson Hagen said. "It was a real pity to lose so much time and so any chance of overall victory. I took the sprint and became leader on the road, but then I went a bit too far back in the peloton and they attacked at the front. I tried to chase but it was impossible and so I lost a lot of time."
Engoulvent was part of a nine-man escape group which got away about 30 km into the race, and very nearly made it to the end. The peloton didn't catch the group until within the final kilometers, and even then the French rider attacked again and had hopes of winning until the speedy Viking pulled past him to take the win.
How it unfolded
Only 111 riders took to the start in Maldegen, after Sebastian Siedler of Skil-Shimano and Dennis Haueisen (Milram) did not start. The field took off from the Markt in Maldgem for a 4.6 km neutralized start.
Again today the speed stayed high, but not high enough to prevent a 19-rider strong group from getting away after 42 km. Mathew Hayman (Rabobank), Bram Tankink (Rabobank), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step), Benoît Joachim (Astana), Berik Kupeshov (Astana), Michael Rogers (Team Columbia), Andreas Klier (Team Columbia), Floris Goesinnen (Skil-Shimano), Robert Wagner (Skil-Shimano), Luca Barla (Team Milram), Frederik Willems (Liquigas), David Kopp (Cycle Collstrop), Jimmy Engoulvent (Credit Agricole), Jerome Coppel (Française Des Jeux), Frank Hoj (Cofidis, le Credit Par Telephone), Romain Villa (Cofidis, le Credit Par Telephone), Lars Ytting Bak (Team CSC) and Matteo Bono (Lampre) got away for a few kilometres.
But the group was large and since Silence-Lotto didn't have anyone in it, so they gave chase. After several re-groupings, a new escape formed of Goesinnen, Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner), Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto), Bram de Groot (Rabobank), Mauro Da Dalta (Liquigas), Marco Marcato (Cycle Collstrop), Anders Lund (CSC), Frank Hoj (Cofidis) and Jimmy Engoulvent (Credit Agricole).
The group built up a lead of 2'45", with Marcato taking the "virtual" leader's jersey during the day. But the sprinters' teams weren't ready to lose their last chance in the race, and began to chase. The peloton split on the Putberg, a climb only 17 km before the finish.
Despite the hard chase, it looked as if the escapees might just make it after all. With 3 km to go they had 20 seconds. They weren't caught until they were inside the final kilometre. Engoulvent went for the win after his long escape, but Edvald Boasson Hagen came around at the last minute to steal the victory, leaving the Frenchman to pound his handlebars in frustration.
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