Jesse Sergent (Radioshack) posted the fastest time in the Eneco Tour's stage four time trial this afternoon, and a rain shower midway through proceedings played havoc with the times.
Sergent went off early, when the road was dry, and posted a quick time of 17-55 over the 14.7km course. Shortly after, however, a downpour severely hampered the efforts of those going away after him.
The rain did move on fairly quickly, and it had passed by the time the favourites set out. However, with the roads wet, the riders were unwilling to take risks on the sharper corners, and their caution translated into slower times.
Alex Rasmussen (HTC-Highroad) posted the second fastest time of the day, twenty four seconds down, with Jürgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto) third a further six seconds back. Taylor Phinney (BCM Racing) was the fastest of the riders high up in the GC - he finished eighth, with a time of 18-25.
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) finished two seconds slower than Phinney in ninth, with Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), the leader going into the time trial, 17 seconds behind him on the day.
Boasson Hagen now moves into the lead overall, holding the Eneco leader's white jersey by twelve seconds from the Belgian road race champion.
David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) posted the 17th fastest time, but his time was quick enough to hold onto his high top ten-placing. He now sits in third, 18 seconds behind Boasson Hagen.
Afterwards, Millar tweeted "I'm embarrassed at how slowly I cornered. I'll be mainly hanging my head in shame this evening. EBH=worthy leader."
The tour now heads into two flatter stages and, with the time gaps between the leaders so small, the time bonuses available at the top of climbs and for the top finishers at each stage could prove decisive.
Eneco Tour 2011, stage 4: Roermond-Roermond ITT, 14.7km
1. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Radioshack 17:55
2. Alex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-Highroad at 14 seconds
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 20 seconds
4. Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha
5. Lars Boom (Neth) Rabobank both at 27 seconds
6. Jens Mouris (Neth) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Maarten Tjallingii (Neth) Rabobank
8. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing all at 30 seconds
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky at 32 seconds
10. Bert Grabsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad at 34 seconds
General Classification after stage 4
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 12 seconds
3. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Cervélo at 18 seconds
4. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing at 27 seconds
5. Jos Van Emden (Neth) Rabobank at 47 seconds
6. Joost Van Leijen (Neth) Vacansoleil-DCM at 54 seconds
7. Dominique Cornu (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen 26 at 57 seconds
8. Dries Dvevenyns (Bel) Quickstep at 58 seconds
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) Radioshack at 59 seconds
10. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard-Trek at 1-03 minutes
David Millar: Cautious ride kept him third place overall
Philippe Gilbert slipped out of the race lead to second overall
Edvald Boasson Hagen took the overall lead
Jesse Sergent takes the stage win
Eneco Tour 2011 photo gallery
Gilbert unstoppable as he moves into Eneco Tour lead
Greipel makes it two out of two
Phinney takes Eneco prologue, Millar and Thomas in top ten
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