World champion Tom Boonen (Quick Step) showed he is back to his best after a disappointing Tour de France by winning stage one and taking the lead of the Eneco Tour in northern Holland on Thursday.

Boonen failed to win a stage at the Tour and retired in the Alps but took his eighteenth UCI victory of the season with a powerful burst of speed in the final 200 metres of the pan-flat 176km stage. Italy?s Simone Cadamuro of the Milram team was second and compatriot Enrico Gasparotto of the Liquigas team was third.

Boonen took the overall race lead from Germany?s Stefan Schumacher thanks to earning a ten-second time bonus for his stage win. Schumacher is now second at four seconds and Jose Ivan Gutierrez of Spain is third at eight seconds.

?Before the race we decided to see how my form was deciding our tactics. Well, it seems I always win pretty quickly whenever I come back from a break from racing,? Boonen said with a smile.

?Winning the first stage is good for the team?s moral. Now we can ride the rest of the race without any pressure.?

Boonen will wear the race leader?s red jersey during Friday?s 194.6km second stage from ?s Hertogenbosch to Sittard-Geleen in southern Holland.

In other races on Thursday, Italy?s Danilo Napolitano (Lampre) won the Coppa Bernocchi race near Milan.