Dutchman Theo Bos (Rabobank) took the bunch sprint at the end of the climb-packed third stage of the 2012 Eneco Tour on Wednesday.
John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) placed second, with Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Sharp) in third after a roundabout-festooned finale into Genk in the Netherlands.
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The majority of the day’s racing was dominated by a four-man break consisting of Briton Alex Dowsett (Sky), Matteo Bono (Lampre-ISD), Laurens De Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) and James Vanlandschoot (Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s).
Dowsett scooped up all three of the day’s intermediate sprints, collecting valuable bonus seconds. Although the quartet’s time gap over the bunch stretched to over five minutes at its maximum, they were reeled in with 10 kilometres to go by the peloton led by Argos-Shimano and Orica-GreenEdge.
Stage one winner and points classificaton leader Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) punctured in the final 3km, ruling himself out of the sprint. Following on from a crash in the previous day’s team time trial, the currently incident-prone Taylor Phinney (BMC) suffered a puncture in the finale and fought to regain contact with the bunch.
Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge) maintains his position at the top of the overall classification after his team won the stage two team time trial. His team-mates Sebastian Langeveld and Svein Tuft lie in second and third at the same time.
The WorldTour-level Eneco Tour concludes on Sunday, August 12.
Eneco Tour 2012, stage three: Riemst to Genk, 188 km
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Rabobank in 4-14-49
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano
3. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at same time
Overall classification after stage three
1. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge
2. Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge at same time
3. Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdge at same time
Four-man escape group inincluding Brit Alex Dowsett
Theo Bos wins
Jens Keukeleire in the lead