Eneco Tour: Stage 4 – Boonen Leads Overall

Marcel Kittel notched up his second stage win in the 8th edition of the Eneco Tour.

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The German rider the fourth stage from Heers (Belgium) to Bergen op Zoom (Netherlands) in the same he way he won the opening stage: by winning a bunch sprint.

Photo: Thomas van Bracht

“It was very hard”, a gasping Kittel said right after the finish. “At eight hundred meters from the line, I was still in fifteenth position. Then Tom Veelers and John Degenkolb brought me forward. At five hundred meters I even had a short moment to rest. I don’t know how they exactly did that, but it was fantastic.”

Kittel thanked all of his teammates saying “It’s just incredible what they do for me. They support me one hundred percent. They bring bottles, they close down breakaways. I cannot thank them enough. I did not expect things to go so well. Although I have to say: winning the sprint may seemed easy, but during the stage I suffered a lot.”

Thanks to his victory, Kittel is in the Points jersey.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Tom Boonen, took over the leader’s jersey by taking 2nd in a crucial sprint section with 16km to go in the 213.3km 4th Stage on Thursday.

Tom Boonen. Photo: OPQS/Tim de Waele

As a result, Boonen gained two seconds and put himself in the virtual leader’s jersey by 1″. He then tried to go for the final sprint after a break was caught inside 12km to go. However, he couldn’t outsprint Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano), who went with 200 meters to go and could not be caught. Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) took 2nd, and Giacomo Nizzolo (Radioshack-Nissan) was 3rd. Boonen finished 4th, but is now the new race leader of Eneco Tour.

Michal Kwiatkowski and Sylvain Chavanel are in 7th and 8th in the GC, just 2″ back. “The plan was to win the stage,” Boonen said. “It didn’t work out, but we have the leader’s jersey. We were chasing down the breakaway a few kilometres before the sprint bonification.”

“We were in the front of the peloton and automatically I took the bonification. I’m happy because I like this race and it’s always nice to get the leader’s jersey.”

“Tomorrow we will have to control the race, which is never easy. Then we have to do a good time trial. I really want to ride a good TT going into the last stage. But I’m not the only one in the team who can do well. Niki, Sylvain, Dries and Michal are all good time trialists and they are also good on a parcour like the one we have to face off on, on Sunday. We will see.”

The break of Van Groen, Frederik Veuchelen, Boris Shpilevsky, Adrian Saez De Arregui, and Gert Dockx (Lotto). Photo Thomas van Bracht

Team Sky
Alex Dowsett and Christian Knees finished in the main bunch to continue their hopes of a strong result as stage four of the Eneco Tour ended in a bunch sprint. The Team Sky pair had to stay alert on a tough finish on some technical, narrow roads with Dowsett riding smartly at the finish to ensure he was on the right side of a five-second split in the bunch.

Team Sky Sports Director Steven de Jongh was happy to see Dowsett sneak into the front group at the line, one of the only GC contenders to do so.

“Alex got in before the time split in the sprint so he did a good job there,” he explained. “Christian was behind the split so lost five seconds, but so did a lot of the GC guys.

“It was a hectic finish again on some narrow roads. But when it narrowed up and in the winds the guys were alert and moved to a good position.

“During the stage we could conserve some energy for the TT and we will look to do the same again tomorrow. The roads are more exposed so if there is wind we need to be careful. Appo is struggling here so we have to look towards the bigger picture on GC.”

Photos: Thomas van Bracht

Orica GreenEdge and the sprint teams control the peloton.

Contador signing autographs at the start.

Marcel Kittel in the points jersey after stage 4.


1. Marcel Kittel, Argos – Shimano 5:11:41
2. Jurgen Roelandts, Lotto Belisol Team
3. Giacomo Nizzolo, RadioShack-Nissan
4. Tom Boonen, Omega Pharma-Quickstep
5. Alexander Kristoff, Katusha Team
6. Heinrich Haussler, Garmin-Sharp
7. Jacopo Guarnieri, Astana Pro Team
8. Aidis Kruopis, Orica-GreenEdge
9. Theo Bos, Rabobank Cycling Team
10. Michael Van Staeyen, Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator

15. Alessandro Petacchi, Lampre-ISD
18. Adam Blythe, BMC Racing Team
21. Lars Boom, Rabobank Cycling Team
29. Alex Dowsett, Sky Procycling
30. Mark Renshaw, Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:05
34. Jack Bauer, Garmin-Sharp
71. David Millar, Garmin-Sharp
97. Luke Rowe, Sky Procycling
118. Jeremy Hunt, Sky Procycling
1. Tom Boonen, Omega Pharma-Quickstep


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