Van Avermaet Wins Stage 5 at Eneco Tour
Team BMC Racing's Greg Van Avermaet finally took his first victory of the season earlier today with an uphill surge on the cobblestoned finish climb of the Muur van Geraardsbergen in stage 5 of the 2014 Eneco Tour of Benelux.
Van Avermaet explained a combination of strong teamwork and a course that suited his strengths led to his two-second win over Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Shimano) and Pavel Brutt (Team Katusha). "It is a great feeling for me to finally get a win this year," he said. "It is a very nice win for me and for the team and today's course was perfect. I have known it from when I was young, which is a big advantage." Dumoulin took the race lead by two seconds over Lars Boom (Belkin Pro Cycling) by sprinting to a second place finish and thereby securing six bonus seconds.
BMC Racing Team's Silvan Dillier, Philippe Gilbert and Quinziato set the stage for the win by taking turns leading the chase of two breakaway riders and attacking and covering attacks in the final kilometers of the 162.5 kilometer stage. As the peloton approached the leaders the attacks started to come and the repetitive climbs including ascents of the Muur de Huy saw the size of the peloton being reduced rapidly.
Van Avermaet, who moved into eighth in the general classification, said he knew if he could get a gap on the climb he would be hard to catch. "I didn't want to look behind me because I thought someone would come," he explained and added "It was difficult to choose the correct gear and I didn't know if I was going fast enough. So I kept sprinting until the finish."
Commenting on taking the overall Eneco Tour lead following today's stage, Dumoulin told Roadcycling.com "Before the stage it was not my goal to become race leader today, but I wanted to go for the victory as I felt really good. I was the fastest over the final 500 meters in the bunch, but I was slightly out of position at the bottom of the climb and Greg (van Avermaet) was too far ahead already.
"I feel in superb condition. The Tour did me good and I hope to hold onto the overall lead now after today. Even though I did not plan on taking the lead it is not bad to be leading the Eneco Tour heading into the last two stages. There are people we have to watch tomorrow and it will be a tough race, but we will make a good plan and our Giant-Shimano team is strong."
Van Avermaet's victory was his first since he won stage 1 in last year's Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.