A three-man breakaway on stage four of the Four Days of Dunkirk – won by Belgian Geert Steegmans (Quick Step) – pre-empted T-Mobile rider Roger Hammond?s (pictured) chances of trying for Great Britain?s third victory in the race in four days.
?Roger was in a break of about 60 guys that went away early in the stage, along with [stage three winner and team-mate] Mark [Cavendish],? T-Mobile team manager Brian Holm told CW?s website.
?But while Mark punctured and got dropped as a result, Roger was up there in the front group all day as it shrank and shrank to about 30 riders in the last hour.?
On the stage starting and finishing in Arras, three riders, including Belgian Steegmans, attacked late on from the front group.
?They got away with about 10 kilometres to go and that was it really, none of them were going to have any real impact on the overall so they let them go,? Holm added.
?Roger had good legs, he was up on the front all day and I think he could have attacked, but being so well up on the overall, Credit Agricole, who?ve now got the race lead, pulled him back again.?
With two days left to race, Credit Agricole?s William Bonnet now leads overall, whilst Steegmans is the new points leader ahead of Cavendish.
?Tomorrow [Saturday] we really don?t care about so much, it?s too hilly for our guys. But on Sunday we?ll be back up there for the final sprint stage,? Holm concluded.