Taco van der Hoorn wins stage three of Benelux Tour 2021 as break holds off bunch

The peloton struggled to pull back to break due to some important riders getting mechanicals

Taco van der Hoorn wins stage three of Benelux Tour 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Taco van der Hoorn had the power left to out-sprint his fellow breakaway companions as they held off the fast-finishing peloton on stage three of the 2021 Benelux Tour.

Van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) took the fifth win of his career and his second of the season along with a stage at the Giro d'Italia.

The day's break was exceptionally strong throughout the day with the peloton struggling to control the gap which was made even more difficult thanks to notable riders suffering mechanicals.

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Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange) was the most dangerous rider in the break at 39 seconds behind the race leader of Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Nippo) with the Australian taking bonus seconds in the Golden Kilometre. Bissegger however was able to keep the blue leader's jersey going into stage four.

How it happened

Stage three of the Benelux Tour started in the town of Essen with a largely flat 168.3km to the finish in Hoogerheide including four laps of a finishing circuit.

Five riders went up the road in a strong break of Van der Hoorn , Durbridge, Samuele Battistella (Astana-Premier Tech), Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar), and Thimo Willems (Sport-Vlaanderen) with a maximum gap of around five minutes. Arjen Livyns (Wallonie Bruxelles-Pauwels Sauces) was also in there but eventually sat up.

The peloton struggled to keep the break under control with Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck - Quick-Step working hard to try and drag them back. The gap wasn’t really coming down in the last 20 or so kilometres, holding steady at around a minute.

Various riders had mechanicals including second overall, Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) as well as Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) with the former getting back in quickly, the latter taking a bit longer.

Alpecin-Fenix tried to add their firepower to the chase but the pace just wasn’t breaking the minute mark to the leaders with 8km to go. Ewan got back on with 6km to go thanks to Philippe Gilbert and Jasper De Buyst.

Bahrain Victorious came to the front as the race neared the Golden Kilometre but the break still held 36 seconds with 5km to go, with Durbridge taking every single sprint and the maximum nine bonus seconds.

Back in the bunch, Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-NextHash) tried a solo move to bridge across to the break but he didn’t stay out for long.

Trek-Segafredo hit the front with 4km to go as Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) hit the deck and was forced to abandon. Meanwhile, up front Battistella attacked but all in the break could follow aside from Norsgaard who started to struggle but still managed to hold on with 3km remaining and 30 seconds back to the bunch.

The break looked around with just over a kilometre to go which meant the gap dipped inside 20 seconds for the first time, with Bahrain and Trek working hard for their sprinters. 

But it wasn't enough for the peloton as it was the break that fought it out for the victory. Van der Hoorn was the rider who came out on top, beating Norsgaard to the line with Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) leading in the peloton behind.


Benelux Tour 2021, stage three: Essen to Hoogerheide (168.3km)

1. Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, in 3-40-23
2. Mathias Norsgaard (Den) Movistar Team
3. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange
4. Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
5. Thimo Willems (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, all at same time
6. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 3s
7. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
8. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal
10. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, all at same time

General classification after stage three

1. Stefan Bissegger (Sui) EF Education-Nippo, in 7-24-51
2. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 19s
3. Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama-FDJ, at 20s
4. Max Walscheid (Ger) Team Qhubeka-NextHash, at 22s
5. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange, at 26s
6. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka-NextHash, at same time
7. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, at 29s
8. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Team Bahrain Victorious, at 36s
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Team Bahrain Victorious, at 42s
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 46s

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

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