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'Guti' shoots to second consecutive Eneco Tour

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Raivis Belohvosciks (Scott - American Beef)

Raivis Belohvosciks (Scott - American Beef) (Image credit: AFP)
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The final overall podium:

The final overall podium: (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Raivis Belohvosciks (Scott - American Beef) took the win in Brussels.

Raivis Belohvosciks (Scott - American Beef) took the win in Brussels. (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) lost his saddle in the final kilometre and had to sprint the entire way to the line.

Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) lost his saddle in the final kilometre and had to sprint the entire way to the line. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia) rode strongly to finish just 19 seconds down.

Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia) rode strongly to finish just 19 seconds down. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) finished 21st overall.

Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) finished 21st overall. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The suprise winner of stage 5, Carlo Westphal (Gerolsteiner), finished 19th overall.

The suprise winner of stage 5, Carlo Westphal (Gerolsteiner), finished 19th overall. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Stijn Vandenbergh (AG2R La Mondiale) a Belgian on a French team.

Stijn Vandenbergh (AG2R La Mondiale) a Belgian on a French team. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) was the highest place Dutch rider in 6th overall.

Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) was the highest place Dutch rider in 6th overall. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Koen De Kort (Astana) rode a strong race to finish 12th overall.

Koen De Kort (Astana) rode a strong race to finish 12th overall. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Michael Rogers (Team Columbia) proving once again that he is recovering well from sickness.

Michael Rogers (Team Columbia) proving once again that he is recovering well from sickness. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) had a great race today.

Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) had a great race today. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jürgen Roelandts (Silence - Lotto) rode away with the points jersey.

Jürgen Roelandts (Silence - Lotto) rode away with the points jersey. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The always valuable team-mate, Steven De Jongh (Quick Step).

The always valuable team-mate, Steven De Jongh (Quick Step). (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Even a broken saddle couldn't stop José Iván Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse d'Epargne) from taking the overall win.

Even a broken saddle couldn't stop José Iván Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse d'Epargne) from taking the overall win. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Andre Greipel (Team Columbia) took his 10th win of the season in the race proving his consistency.

Andre Greipel (Team Columbia) took his 10th win of the season in the race proving his consistency. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) finished third in the time-trial to move into second overall..

Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) finished third in the time-trial to move into second overall.. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jürgen Roelandts (Silence - Lotto) lead the points competition into the final time-trial.

Jürgen Roelandts (Silence - Lotto) lead the points competition into the final time-trial. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Raivis Belohvosciks (Scott - American Beef) was the fastest man today.

Raivis Belohvosciks (Scott - American Beef) was the fastest man today. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Walk like a time trial man... Nicolas Portal (Caisse d'Epargne).

Walk like a time trial man... Nicolas Portal (Caisse d'Epargne). (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Caisse d'Epargne) gets some last minute adjustments from his mechanic.

Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Caisse d'Epargne) gets some last minute adjustments from his mechanic. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Nicolas Portal (Caisse d'Epargne) waves to the crowd before setting out on the final TT.

Nicolas Portal (Caisse d'Epargne) waves to the crowd before setting out on the final TT. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Raivis Belohvosciks (Scott - American Beef) sets out to win.

Raivis Belohvosciks (Scott - American Beef) sets out to win. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Caisse d'Epargne) the current Spanish TT champion.

Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Caisse d'Epargne) the current Spanish TT champion. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Italy's Angelo Furlan (Crédit Agricole).

Italy's Angelo Furlan (Crédit Agricole). (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Ermanno Capelli (Scott - American Beef).

Ermanno Capelli (Scott - American Beef). (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Caisse d'Epargne) on his way to 13th in the stage.

Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Caisse d'Epargne) on his way to 13th in the stage. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia) Norway's TT champion.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia) Norway's TT champion. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The final overall podium: Sebastien Rosseler (Quick Step), Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Michael Rogers (Columbia)

The final overall podium: Sebastien Rosseler (Quick Step), Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Michael Rogers (Columbia) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jürgen Roelandts (Silence - Lotto) on the podium for the points competition.

Jürgen Roelandts (Silence - Lotto) on the podium for the points competition. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Roelandts tosses his bouquet to the crowd.

Roelandts tosses his bouquet to the crowd. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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José Iván Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse d'Epargne) celebrates his overall win.

José Iván Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse d'Epargne) celebrates his overall win. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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José Iván Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse d'Epargne) at the post race press conference.

José Iván Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse d'Epargne) at the post race press conference. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse d'Epargne) seems happy with his response.

Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse d'Epargne) seems happy with his response. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)

Raivis Belohvosciks of Team Scott-American Beef won the closing time trial of the Eneco Tour, setting an early best time of 22.04 for the 18.8 km course, but the real drama of the day was the question of who would take the overall win. Team Columbia's André Greipel may have gone into the final time trial as the overall leader, but his eleven second margin over last year's winner José Iván Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) proved to be far too small to hold off the Spaniard at the end of the day.

Gutierrez, who placed second in the time trial behind the Latvian, Belohvosciks, put 25 seconds into the German over the 18.8 kilometre course, despite a last-kilometre mechanical, to secure his second consecutive overall victory in the Eneco Tour.

Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) and former world time trial champion Michael Rogers were within fractions of a second of Gutierrez on the stage, placing third and fourth respectively. Belgian time trial champion Stijn Devolder was fifth.

Gutierrez was please to take the win on the final stage. "I said the very first day the final time trial would decide everything and it has been the case", he said. "In such a race, all flat and where the wind can be very important and make that you lose plenty of time, you have to be very attentive every day. It is always the same in the Belgian races and that is exactly what happened yesterday."

The Spaniard was fortunate enough to make a 40-man front group on stage five which put paid to the GC hopes of Team Columbia's Edvald Boasson Hagen, who would have arguably been a greater time trial threat than his team-mate Greipel. The young Norwegian was just eleven seconds behind Gutierrez on the final stage.

"Fortunately I was in at the front when the bunch split and I finished the stage with the very first riders," Gutierrez recalled of Monday's stage. "I want to thank my team-mates of the team Caisse d'Epargne for the great job they achieved for me every day, chasing behind all the breaks, because without their help I would not be the winner today. After the prologue I felt better and better and today I felt very well. It was not enough to win the stage but it was to win the final classification and that is the most important thing. Moreover I really liked the course: short and fast. Perfect for me!"

How it unfolded

Denis Flahaut of Team Scott-American Beef was the first to go down the start ramp, promptly at 13:30. The riders went off at intervals of one and a half minutes, until the final ten, who had two minutes between them. Bert Roesems of Silence-Lotto was the first to break the 23 minute mark on the 18.8 km course, setting a best time of 22.52. But this was soon blasted by Belohvosciks, with a time of 22.04.

Edvald Boasson Hagen of Columbia set a new best time at the intermediate time check, and it looked like he would take the best time at the end, too, but he lost a lot of time in the second half and crossed the finish line with a time of 22.21. The young Norwegian had been the first to go through the intermediate check under 10 minutes (9.58).

The Latvian's time held up, with Gutierrez, Rosseler and Rogers coming only within eight seconds of his time. Gutierrez was second overall going into the stage, 11 seconds behind Greipel, and it was clear that he would out-do the German. He looked a shoo-in for the win until he lost his saddle on the cobblestones in the last kilometer, requiring him to finish the race standing on his pedals. However, he still finished fast enough to hold off all other challengers.

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