Germany?s Carlos Westphal (Gerolsteiner) pulled off a surprise win at the end of stage five of the Eneco Tour on Monday, beating the sprinters with a late attack after a twisting finish shuffled the peloton that had already been split in cross winds.
It was the Gerolsteiner rider?s first win as a professional and could be enough to find him a new team and save his professional career as the Gerolsteiner folds.
Westphal beat Yauheni Hutarovich (Francaise des Jeux) and Borut Bozic (Cycle Collstrop) in the dash to the line, with race leader Andre Greipel (Columbia) only fourth. The Quick Step team had tired to dominate the sprint despite Tom Boonen quitting the race after his second stage on Sunday but they went too hard too early and Gert Steegmans only finished sixth.
Britain?s Roger Hammond (Columbia) finished 24th in the same times as Westphal. Jeremy Hunt (Credit Agricole) did not finish the stage.
Big loser of the day was young Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia). He had taken the virtual race lead during the race thanks to taking precious bonus seconds in intermediate sprints and was a favourite to win in Wednesday?s final 18.8km time trial. However, he was dropped when the bunch split in cross winds and like most of the peloton finished 14-45 behind. Boasson Hagen and Columbia had totally messed up their overall race strategy but fortunately Greipel kept the race leader?s white jersey for another day.
As he previously had announced, Tom Boonen (Quick Step) did not start stage five. Rival Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) and ten other riders did the same as their thoughts turned to the Vuelta Espana that starts next Saturday in Granada.
The Eneco Tour continues on Tuesday with stage six from Maldegem to Brussels in Belgium over 186kms. Expect another sprint finish.
ENECO TOUR STAGE FIVE RESULTS
1. Carlos Westphal (Ger) Gerolsteiner 3hrs 7mins 38secs
2. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Francaise des Jeux
3. Borut Bozic (Slo) Cycle Collstrop
4. Andre Greipel (Ger) Team Columbia
5. Jürgen Roelandts (Bel) Silence
6. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step
7. Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
8. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank
9. Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank
10. Robert Wagner (Ger) Skil-Shimano all same time.
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE FIVE
1. André Greipel (Ger) Team Columbia 21 hrs 57mins 26sec
2. José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 11secs
3. Jürgen Roelandts (Bel) Silence – Lotto at 12secs
4. Sebastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step at 16secs
5. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia at 18secs
6. Koen De Kort (Ned) Astana at s.t
7. Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank at 21secs
8. Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step at 22secs
9. Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank at s.t
10. Piet Rooijakkers (Ned) Skil-Shimano at 24secs.
Race leader Andre Greipel and his Columbia team-mates
Riders pass war graves on stage five
Carlos Westphal takes a surprise win
Photos by Luc Claessen
2008 ENECO TOUR STAGE REPORTS
2008 Eneco Tour photo gallery, updated daily
Stage four: Boonen wins again
Stage three: Bennati wins and takes race lead
Stage two: Greipel takes Eneco Tour stage
Stage one: Boonen back to his best
Prologue: Gutierrez takes Eneco opener
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