Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) ended his dry spell at the Eneco Tour with a straightforward bunch sprint victory ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Leopard) in stage four.
His Lotto Belisol team, who endured an embarrassing finale yesterday as their lead out man Jurgen Roelandts lost contact with Greipel, made amends this time around by setting a strong pace in the last few kilometres that strung the peloton into a long, single file line and set up their German sprinter.
Though it briefly looked as though their train was running out of riders, with just two remaining at the front with two kilometres to go, the pair were able to maintain a fast pace at the front, before Greipel jumped onto Lars Boom’s (Belkin) wheel and overtook the Dutchman to comfortably win the sprint.
Despite finishing only third, Boom usurps Arnaud Demare(Francais Des Jeux) into the lead in the General Classification by taking four bonus points. His achievement will feel particularly sweet as he claims the jersey in his home town of Vlijmen, but faces a battle to keep hold of it after tomorrow’s time trial, with specialist Taylor Phinney lurking close behind.
The break of the day contained Pim Ligthart(Vaconsoleil-DCM) Pieter Jacobs(Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Staf Scheirlinckx (Accent Jobs-Wanty), but on pan flat roads they were reeled in on by one in the closing stages.
A large crash with six kilometres to go, involving Sky’s Mathew Hayman among others, disrupted the finale and caused a big split in the group, but most of those caught up were able to catch back up. Bradley Wiggins(Sky) was one of those held up, but avoided going down.
Stage four result
1.Andre Greipel(Ger) Lotto-Belisol 3-47-35
2.Giacomo Nizzolo(Ita) RadioShack Leopard
3.Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin
4.Alessandro Pettachi (Ita)Omega Pharma
5.Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
6.Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
7.Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge
8.Yauheni Hutarovic (Blr) Ag2r
9.Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
10.Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky all s.t.