Eneco Tour Report: Stybar Wins After Attacking in the Final


Stage 3- Eneco Tour – Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Zdenek Stybar was in the perfect position in the final kilometres to profit from a split and was fastest in the sprint to the line

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Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Zdenek Stybar was in perfect position in the final kilometers, sitting behind the trains of several teams hoping to set up the field sprint for the 187.3km Eneco Tour Stage 3 on Wednesday. Several teams had four or five riders, while Stybar waited patiently behind them. Suddenly, a Lotto-Belisol rider accelerated in a final corner and Stybar went with the move.

Stybar, Ariel Maximiliano Richeze (Lampre-Merida) and Lars Boom (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) remained off the front inside the final kilometre, with more than enough of a gap to decide the stage. Stybar’s sprint won out, crossing the line with fists pumping for the 48th OPQS win (46th road) in three disciplines in 2013. Richeze was 2nd, Boom was 3rd.

Stybar moves up to 3rd in the GC with his victory, and Alessandro Petacchi is now 9th. Demare is the current race leader.


OPQS was the aggressor throughout the race, sensing windy conditions and splitting the peloton earlier in the stage. While the race came back together with 57km to go, they dictated the pace and were able to also control their position well in the final.

“We knew today there was a possibility of a windy stage, so in the last two laps we tried to make a split,” Sport Director Wilfried Peeters said. “On the circuit there was also a head wind. So we gave up, it was impossible to make something good out of the action. We decided to go for Petacchi in the final.”

“Petacchi was on the wheel of Greipel, but in the last corner there was a gap. Petacchi was intelligent to stay on wheel of Greipel and that maintained the gap that permitted Stybar to play his chance today. I think it is a great result after the surgery Styby had to pass.”

“I am happy for him and the team. Now he is 3rd in the GC. On Friday we have a time trial and we will lose a few seconds for sure. But on Saturday and Sunday we have two stages where Styby can defend himself and why not, try to get something good in the GC. We will see day-by-day, step-by-step. Today is important enough and we are happy with this result.”

“I am really happy because it’s the first victory since the Tour de Pologne last year,” Stybar said. “After the surgery I had on my knee, I couldn’t train as I normally would. I really hated the period after the surgery because I couldn’t really follow a specific schedule.”

“It wasn’t easy, but in the last weeks I was able to train really well in the Czech Republic, and after that good period at altitude camp. I felt I was improving quickly at that point. I knew I was going better today but still, I have never sprinted in my life.”

“Even in training, I didn’t practice. The sprint is not my strongest point but probably after today I will change my mind because I was able to win. Maybe it is because I am sleeping in the same room as Petacchi. Maybe his sprint power rubbed off on me (laughs).”

“About the sprint, I knew it was going to be tough,” Stybar continued. “Because the lap before, I asked Alessandro to ride for me to take the bonification. Alessandro worked for me and making that sprint I understood it was really tough as there was a headwind from the left”.

“It was a really difficult final. When I did the sprint in the final I waited, waited, and waited for the right moment. I let the other guys pass, jumped on the wheel of Richeze and then I came out from his wheel and I did my sprint in the very last moment to be powerful enough to pass him.”

“It’s really nice to have a win like this. It’s especially nice because tomorrow we arrive in Essen where I live with my girlfriend when I am in Belgium. It’s really nice to arrive there with the win. We will see now, as starting on Friday we will start the weekend for the GC. I am focused on the TT.”

“I know I will lose something but I want to try to go full gas and try to go into the final two stages in a good GC position. In Tour de Pologne I was pretty OK on the climbs. I will try to do my best on Saturday, and Sunday, the finish is more for my skills.”

Crash for BMC’s Phinney  

BMC Racing Team’s Taylor Phinney and Philippe Gilbert saw their top 10 positions shuffled in the overall classification at the Eneco Tour of Benelux Wednesday after three riders finished two seconds ahead of the peloton in what was expected to be a bunch sprint finish.

Gilbert slid from third to fifth overall, four seconds behind race leader Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr), while Phinney is now eighth, at eight seconds. Both BMC Racing Team riders were part of the peloton that finished two seconds behind three riders who broke away just outside the final kilometer of the 187.3-km race.

The late escape marked the second significant split in the peloton during the stage. The first occurred about 100 kilometers from the finish, not long after a crash took down Phinney. That incident, combined with a split in the peloton in strong crosswinds, caught out all but two BMC Racing Team riders – Gilbert and teammate Klaas Lodewyck.

Phinney said the crash happened in a moment where he thought he was safe, riding near the front. “Some guys touched wheels, it’s nervous in the bunch, so there’s a lot of really heavy, sudden braking and I found myself on the wrong side of somebody’s wheel,” he said.

After finishing 60th on the stage, Phinney said his injuries appeared to be minor. “The road rash isn’t too bad,” he said, “but I hit my head a little bit and I’ve got to be careful of that because I have had head injuries in the past. But I don’t think it is anything too bad.”

Following a chase of more than 40 kilometers, with the time gap between the front group of about two dozen riders and the chasing peloton hovering between 15 and 25 seconds, the two groups came together with 57 km to go. Phinney thanked his teammates for helping him regain the field, first after the crash, and then after the split.

“Danilo Wyss brought me back and then Daniel Oss, Amaël Moinard, Manuel Quinziato and again, Danilo, rode really hard to make it back,” he said. “I’m really thankful to them.”


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