Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol) won the penultimate stage on the 2014 Eneco Tour, with an adventurous attack that saw him also move to first in the overall standings.
Lars Boom finished 50 seconds adrift in second, and retains his second position on the GC having managed to gain enough time to overtake overnight leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano).
Geraint Thomas (Sky) finished a few seconds behind in fifth, and slips to sixth overall.
Wellens was one of several riders to chance his luck on a hectic day on some of the same roads used in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Whereas attacks from other threats to the GC like Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) and Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) were allowed no leeway, Wellens went under the radar and his attack prompted no such response, despite the fact he lay just 49 seconds down.
Wellens capitalised on terrain that was difficult to control. On the final lap of a circuit that culminated with an ascent of La Redoute, the peloton had depleted to around 30 riders, and lead Tom Dumoulin was without any teammates to help him control the race. His vulnerability was exploited, and he ultimately could not chase after every attack.
Despite being alone and being offered no support from other riders, Dumoulin still managed to single-handedly shut down one threatening group containing Andriy Grivko (Astana) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). But as a result of that effort he was unable to respond when Boom subsequently made his own attack, and the final kilometres became a pursuit between Wellens alone at the front, a Dumoulin-led bunch, and Boom in-between.
Dumoulin did a good job to ultimately finish just two seconds behind Boom, but the time bonuses mean he slips to third overall.
Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) was the last survivor of the day’s break that also included Alex Dowsett (Movistar) and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), but was given no chance of staying away among the frantic racing. Alexandre Pichot (Europcar), having attacked the peloton, was the first to catch and pass him fifteen kilometres from the finish, before he was subsequently passed by Wellens a few minutes later.
The 23-year old now has just one day in order to defend his slender seven second advantage over Boom, with Dumoulin also still in contention at 13 seconds.
Eneco Tour 2014, stage six: Heerlen to Aywaille, 173.3km
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Belisol in 4-28-19
2. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin at 50 secs
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing at 52 secs
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano
5. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 56 secs
6. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana at 58 secs
7. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 59 secs
9. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing
10. Marco Marcato (Ita) Cannondale at same time
Overall classification after stage six
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Belisol in 21-03-27
2. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin at 7 secs
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 13 secs
4. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana at 33 sces
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing at 34 secs
6. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 38 secs
7. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 45 secs
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing at 48 secs
9. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge at 56 secs
10. Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 1-04
Greg Van Avermaet conquers Muur van Geraardsbergen as Tom Dumoulin takes overall lead
Zdenek Stybar undergoes surgery and teeth replacement after crashing in the finale of stage four of the Eneco Tour