Jasper Stuyven took Trek-Segafredo’s second stage win of the 2017 BinckBank Tour after a late breakaway on the final day, as Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) confirmed overall victory, finishing third on the stage.
Belgian Stuyven broke away with around 3.5km to go as a reduced group rode its way towards the finish on the early slopes of the Muur van Geraardsbergen.
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With none of the riders behind immediately chasing on, Stuyven was quickly able to grab a decent gap almost immediately, with no chase really ever getting organised.
The pursuit really only got going approaching the final 600 metres up the Muur, but by that time Stuyven had enough of an advantage to hold on to take victory on the line by one second.
Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step) took second, while race leader Tom Dumoulin crossed the line third, well ahead of second overall Tim Wellens to take overall victory.
The Dutchman came into the final stage with a four second advantage over stage six winner Wellens, and was able to grab some second from the intermediate time bonuses to stretch out his advantage during the stage, before taking more time at the finish.
Giro d’Italia winner Dumoulin finished 17 seconds ahead of Wellens in the final overall, with Stuyven grabbing third place thanks to his late attack and stage victory.
The early action
Despite the 193.5km route from Essen to Geraardsbergen taking in two ascents of the cobbled Muur-Kapelmuur and the Bosberg, the action really kicked off on the final climb of the Denderoorberg.
Before that the day’s early breakaway of Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin), Elia Viviani (Team Sky), Jay Thomson (Dimension Data), Grega Bole (Bahrain-Merida), Kenny Dehaes (Wanty- Groupe Gobert), Elmar Reinders (Roompot), Tim Merlier (Vérandas Willems-Crelan), Jonas Rickaert (Sport Vlaanderen) and Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen), were only able to grab a small gap up the road with the peloton not keen to let riders get too far away.
Peter Sagan attacked the second time over the Muur and caught Tony Martin, the last breakaway rider, with over 30km to go.
Further accelerations over the Bosberg and down some of the descents saw a host of riders dropped, but a large group was still in tact into the closing 10km.
It came down to a more elite selection when Greg Van Avermaet attacked on the Denderoorberg with Sagan following.
Race leader Dumoulin was able to chase on with Tim Wellens initially dropped, but was able to get back shortly after as the pace slowed.
That saw the front riders stretched out along the road with around 6km remaining, with a lot of cat and mouse between them before the decisive move came with 3.5km to go, with Stuyven taking the win.
BinckBank Tour 2017, stage seven: Essen – Geraardsbergen (193.5km)
1 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo, in 4-06-48
2 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 1s
3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
8 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ
9 Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
10 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac, all same time
Final general classification
1 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb, in 24-34-33
2 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal, at 17s
3 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo, at 46s
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team, at 51s
5 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale, at 1-14
6 Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana Pro Team, at 1-15
7 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-53
8 Lars Boom (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo, at 1-59
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 2-12
10 Petr Vakoc (Cze) Quick-Step Floors, at 2-23