The Eneco Tour ends today with a 16.7km individual time trial through the streets of Genk, Belgium. Only two men have the chance to win the overall title: Tony Martin of HTC-Columbia, and Koos Moerenhout of Rabobank.
Welcome to the final stage of the Eneco Tour. It comes down to Tony Martin vs. Koos Moerenhout today -- who will take the final crown?
Alex Rasmussen of Saxo Bank currently has the best time, 20:33.
Rasmussen leads by 30 seconds over second-placed Patrick Gretsch of HTC-Columbia.
123 riders are scheduled to ride today. The first off was Scott Davis (Astana) at 13:06, and the last will be Tony Martin of HTC-Columbia at 16:14.
Today's course is more or less flat. There are a few cobblestone sections. The largest difficulty will be presented by the curves and turns.
Sebastian Lang of Omega Pharma-Lotto is on the course now, and he is faster than his motorcycle escort expected. "Seppel" Lang almost ran into the motorcycle!
There is some question as to whether Andre Greipel will be at the start today. We will know in a few minutes.
The riders are going off at 1:30 intervals, with the final 10 at two minutes.
HTC-Columbia's Bert Grabsch has now taken to the course. This is actually too short for the former World Champion, so don't look for him to win today.
Did we say something about curves and turns? There are a lot of them here today. 25 of them, in fact, in only 16 kilometres.
Greipel is indeed finishing the race today -- there he is, ready to take off. He has already won two stages here.
Greipel is followed by another German, Jens Voigt of Saxo Bank. Both are changing teams next season. Greipel will go to Omega Pharma-Lotto. Voigt has not yet said where he is going, but all the rumours say he will be on the new Team Luxembourg.
A good time for Seppel Lang, who comes in with a time of 21:18, giving him seventh place at the moment.
Grabsch is doing better on this course than expected. He was second at the intermediate time check.
Looks like someone is passing someone else -- unfortunately we can't identify the two riders.
RadioShack's Gert Steegmans is the next to go out on the road.
Greipel is putting in a good time -- he is seventh at the intermediate time check.
And here's some not so good news -- we have a few sprinkles. And some brilliant sunshine. What a combination! Both at the same time.
But seriously, rain would be a real problem here on this tricky city course. And it may mean that Rasmussen might take the win.....
Grabsch finishes in third place, at 21:05, just behind his teammate Gretsch.
Oh my, let's be careful!! A kid was riding on a skateboard and sent it sailing out on to the road. Fortunately it didn't come too near the rider who was there, but his team car had a bit of a scare and had to swerve to avoid it.
Greipel will be in soon, let's see if he can line up with his teammates.
A good time for Voigt, who is now in sixth place.
Greipel slowed down a bit and had a time of 21:19.
Steegmans had passed Aerts and they head to the finish line.
Steegmans finishes in 12th place at 21:19.
The two top riders are rather a contrast. Moerenhout is 36 years old and has said he will retire at the end of this season. Martin is 25 and only in his third year.
Here's a surprise. We have a new second-placed rider: Jonathan Castroviejo of Euskaltel-Euskadi. He comes in at 20:51, only the second rider so far to break the 21 minute mark.
Bram Tankink is now underway, with only 13 more riders to go.
Ben Hermans of RadioShack approaches the finish line. He has a time of 21:29, giving him 20th place right now.
Maarten Tjallingii has the chance to put in a good time, too.
Tenth placed Daniel Oss takes off. Nine more to go....
Jos Van Emden of Rabobank will finish near the top, too. He too breaks the 21 minute mark, taking second place with a time of 20:48.
Andreas Klöden of RadioShack is underway, and Dominique Cornu of Skil--Shimano is the next to go.
Those few sprinkles of rain we had earlier have gone now, fortunately.
Tjallingii has put in the new best time! He now leads with 20:30.
Lars Boom takes to the course. Only four more riders to go: Tuft, Boasson Hagen, Moerenhout and Martin.
Kloden is fifh at the intermediate time check, eight seconds down.
Canadian Svein Tuft of Garmin-Transitions won the prologue here, and is now on his way to see if he can win the closing time trial as well.
Cornu is only 23d at the intermediate time check.
Boasson Hagen, who won the whole thing last year, sets out to defend his third place. Will he be able to?
Frederic Guesdon comes to the finish, way back in 84th place, 2:30 slower than the leader.
Jakobus "Koos" Moerenhout is on the course. He is only 11 seconds behind Martin in GC, and will do his best to make up that time.
RIchie Porte is fifth at the time check.
Now it is Tony Martin's turn. He has won a number of time trials, so he ought to feel confident.
We will have our new winner in about 20 minutes.
There will be a number of changes in the GC, with the good times of Tjallingii and Van Emden.
Tiago Machado of RadioShack won't have improved himself, as he finishes only 20th on the day.
Tuft is seventh at the time check, nine seconds down.
Oss has lost time too, as he crosses the finish line 1:15 down.
Boasson Hagenis fifth at the time check. And Klöden is fifth at the finish line.
Oh no! A puncture for Boom. That will end his hopes of doing well, even though he had a very quick change.
Cornu heads to the finish line, 1:15 down.
Martin hits the intermediae time check with an incredible new best time, some 10 seconds faster.
Martin started his career as a time trial specialist, and he is showing that he can still do it. There should be no doubt as to his winning today.
Sorry, he was only six seconds faster than the best time at the intermediate time check.
Porte comes to the finish line and will have a good time. He finishes 3rd in a time of 20:44.
Boom should be the next to come in, but he lost time with his puncture. It probably also cost him his fifth place overall.
Boom has a time of 21:04, making him eighth on the stage at the moment.
Only three riders left on the course: Boasson Hagen, Moerenhout and Martin.
Tuft doesn't have as good a time as hoped. He is seventh with a time of 21:00.
Porte had such a good time, that he might knock Boasson Hagen off the podium.
It is 20:48 for Boasson Hagen, which is good enough to keep him in third place.
Moerenhout negotiates a tricky curve combination and heads to the finish line.
He turns on the speed and crosses the finish line in fourth place, with a time of 20:44.
The last kilometre for Martin.
Also he takes the curve and turn combination carefully, before powering his way to the finish.
And Martin wins the time trial with a best time of 20:24!
Of course, he also cements his overall victory with that great performance.
This is Martin's first stage-race overall win.
We did indeed have some changes in the top ten. Porte moved up to fourth, with Tuft dropping to fifth and Boom sixth. Tjallingii jumped to seventh, and Klöden moved up one to eighth place.
Congratulations to Tony Martin and to all the riders. Thanks for reading along with us and we hope you enjoyed this year's Eneco Tour. Be sure to join us as of Saturday for the Vuelta a Espana.
1. Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) 20:24
2. Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) 20:30
3. Alex Rasmussen (Saxo Bank) 20:33
4. Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) 20:44
5. Koos Moerenhout (Rabobank) 20:44
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) 20:48
Final overall classification
1. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Columbia 00:00.0
2. Koos Morenhout (Ned) Rabobank) 00:31.0
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky 01:46.0
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank 01:57.0
5. Svein Tuft (Can) Garmin-Transitions 02:04.0
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