Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) maintained his overall lead in the 2011 Eneco Tour on Saturday going into the final stage of the seven-day race.
The double 2011 Tour de France stage winner and his Sky team kept a lid on the race to prevent overall rivals Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) and Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) snatching valuable bonus second in the fight for the leader’s jersey.
Sky were content to let an escape group go clear and snatch the intermediate and finish time bonuses. The trio of breakaway riders stayed away – just – to allow Italian Matteo Bono (Lampre-ISD) to take the stage five win ahead of Sergey Renev (Astana) in second and Artem Ovechkin (Katusha) in third.
Tomas Vaitkus (Astana) brought home the bunch just three seconds adrift of the three leaders.
Boasson Hagen leads Gilbert by 12 seconds overall, with Britain’s Millar at 18 seconds. Early race leader Phinney is fourth at 25 seconds.
Stage three victor Gilbert will undoubtedly attempt to claw back his time deficit on the final day’s racing, a long 201.2km stage from Sittard to Geleen, Holland, on Sunday, August 14. The day’s racing takes in 22 climbs and much of the Amstel Gold Race route, which Gilbert won this year and last.
Eneco Tour 2011, stage five: Genk to Genk, 189.2km
1. Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-ISD in 4-12-14
2. Sergey Renev (Kaz) Astana at same time
3. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) Katusha at 3 secs
4. Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Astana at 6 secs
5. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
6. Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha
7. Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) Skil-Shimano
8. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
9. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Radioshack
10. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing all at same time
31. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at same time
82. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at same time
136. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 2-16
Overall classification after stage five
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky in 18-01-26
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 12 secs
3. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 18 secs
4. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing at 25 secs
5. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank at 47 secs
6. Joost Van Leijen (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 54 secs
7. Dominique Cornu (Bel) Topsport-Vlaanderen at 57 secs
8. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick Step at 58 secs
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) Radioshack at 59 secs
10. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard-Trek at 1-03
71. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 5-19
137. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 22-00
Matteo Bono wins from a three-man break