Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Zdenek Stybar beat Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Lampre Merida), Lars Boom (Belkin) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol) to victory on stage three of the Eneco Tour as the quartet broke away from the main group in the final two kilometres.
Lars Boom was the last to make it across the gap between the peloton and the escapees, which initially opened as Jurgen Roelandts increased the pace without realising he had dropped the man he was trying to lead-out, Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).
It was then Boom who initiated the sprint, as Roelandts apparently moved aside expecting Greipel to come through, the Belkin rider and Eneco Tour 2012 winner used his slip stream to propel himself toward the line.
Boom was unable to maintain his sprint though, with Czech rider Stybar decisively passing the Dutchman to take the stage.
The day was a throroughly flat affair, taking the riders 187km from Oosterhout, Belgium to Schouwen-Duivelandin the Netherlands, with the race shaping up to end in a bunch sprint.
There was an early breakaway during the day containing four riders, Alex Rasmussen (Garmin Sharp), Axel Domont (AG2R), Eloy Teruel (Movistar), Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise), and though they gained almost six minutes on the peloton, they were absorbed again with over 60km still to ride.
Stong cross winds broke the peloton up into echelons throughout the day, but eventually two groups formed with those in the back group having to chase on for over a dozen kilometres to reform one peloton.
Lotto-Belisol then took control after catching another late breakaway of Jelle Wallays and Laurens de Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise), but a clear miscommunication going into the final stretch seriously cost Lotto, handing the opportunity of a win to Stybar on a plate.
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) meanwhile, finished another minute down on the main group, while overall leader Arnaud Demare (FDJ) finished two seconds off to maintain a gap of only one second at the top of the general classification.
Stage three result
1 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step, 4:14:00
2 Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida, same time
3 Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin, st
4 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Leopard, +2sec
5 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol, st
6 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
7 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Accent.jobs – Wanty, st
8 Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha, st
9 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
10 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar, st
1 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ, 12:18:42
2 Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin, +1sec
3 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, +3
4 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Belkin, same time
5 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC, +4
6 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +6
7 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol, +8
8 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC, st
9 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, +10
10 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent.jobs – Wanty, st