Álvaro Hodeg won stage five of the Binck Bank Tour 2019 after an exemplary lead out from his Deceuninck-Quick-Step team and holding off a late-charging Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).
The Colombian sprinter came up on the right hand side before ducking through a gap and unleashing his sprint towards the line. Bennett followed, and was gaining on Hodeg, but the line came too soon to deny the Irishman a fourth win at this year's race.
Edward Theuns finished third, after Trek-Segafredo had led the sprint out into the finishing straight, with Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Gobert) fourth and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) fifth.
Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-Merida) was one of several riders who crashed with a few hundred metres to go, but he appeared to be on his feet and receiving medical attention as the rest of the peloton passed through.
Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) retains the overall lead heading into the final two stages.
How it happened
Hodeg must have known it was going to be a good day, despite Sam Bennett's imperious sprinting form, pulling a wheelie as he rocked up the start of the 191.4km stage five.
After half an hour of racing a breakaway was still yet to form, with Harry Tanfield (Katusha-Alpecin) taking the first sprint checkpoint ahead of Julien Vermote (Dimension).
30km later, six riders managed to get away, including Caros Verona (Movistar) and Roy Curvers (Sunweb), quickly opening up a 45 second gap.
With 128km to go, the six riders were reeled back in by the peloton, except for Curvers, who continued alongside Boy van Poppel (Roompot Charles) and Michael Schär (CCC).
However, that break didn't settle either, and after another 20km a third breakaway looked to have finally snapped the elastic, heading two minutes up the road away from the peloton. Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar) was accompanied by Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott) Oscar Riesebeek (Roompot-Charles) and Willie Smit (Katusha-Alpecin).
With 75km to go, the escapees' advantage had come down to 1-30, but held over the next 30km, as the peloton entered the final three laps.
Stannard took the sprint checkpoint ahead of Riesebeek with 30km remaining, as the break's advantage came down to around the minute mark.
The break persisted into the final 10km, and managed to stay ahead for the golden kilometre bonus points, with Riesebeek and Smit taken five while Sütterlin and Stand took four each, although none of the four were troubling the sharp end of the overall classification.
After a sweeping bend, Trek-Segafredo led into the finish, looking to set up Edward Theuns. As the road narrowed, space was a premium, with riders darting around, hopping up onto the pavement and back down again.
Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) found himself without a lead out train as Deceuninck - Quick-Step got organised. They led Álvaro Hodeg up the right hand side, before the Colombian shouted for them to make way as he unleashed his sprint, jumping through a gap up ahead and towards the finish line.
Sam Bennett followed, yet the line came too soon for the Irishman to fully catch Hodeg, who held on to take his biggest win of 2019.
Tim Wellens leads Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) by four seconds heading into stage six's individual time trial before the final lumpy stage seven.
Binck Bank Tour 2019, stage five: Riemst to Venray (191.4km)
1. Álvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), in 3-54-48
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek Segafredo
4. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
5. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Ineos)
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
8. Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
9. Boris Vallée (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
10. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles, all at same time
General classification after stage five
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, in 17-27-34
2. Marc Hirschi (Sui) Sunweb, at four seconds
3. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, at 14s
4. Ivan García (Esp) Bahrain-Merida, at 36s
5. Oliver Naesen (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 39s
6. Michael Valgren (Den) Dimension Data, at 42s
7. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 45s
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC, at 49s
10. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb, at same time
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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