Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won the 2013 Eneco Tour with a stage win in Sunday's final day of racing.
The Czech rider attacked with just six kilometres to go, and managed to distance Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano) and gain maximum bonus time at the finish line to finish 26 seconds second ahead of Dumoulin on GC.
2013 has been a breakthrough season on the road for Stybar, who is partaking in only his second season in the peloton following a successful career as a cycle cross rider. Sixth place in Paris-Roubaix this spring confirmed his potential, and we can expect much more success from him following his impressive ride in the Eneco Tour this week.
Second to Stybar in today's stage was Britain's Ian Stannard (Sky), who showcased his trademark strength and determination. The 26-year-old formed part of the break of the day, and attacked clear with Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team) with 50 kilometres to go.
He went on to drop both these riders and was in front alone with 20 kilometres to the finish, but found company again when Stybar attacked the peloton and caught him.
The pair then road together leading into the final accent of the Muur von Geraardsbergen, but Stannard was unable to keep up with the fresher man on its steep sloped and had to settle for second. It was however another fine effort from the Brit who has been excellent over the past twelve months; a big win surely awaits.
Stannard was not the only rider unable to live with Stybar; a counter attack of Lars Boom (Belkin), Manuel Quinziato (BMC) and Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) - who went on to finish third, fourth and fifth respectively, were unable to bridge the gap to him, and race leader Tom Dumoulin did not have the legs to follow him.
Earlier he had been isolated and put under pressure from Omega Pharma-Quick Step, who had threatened his jersey earlier in the day with an attack on the second of three accent of the Muur von Geraardsbergen from GC threat Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and Omega executed the one-two tactic perfectly with Stybar's late attack.
Dumoulin does however hold on the second place, and, aged just 22 years old, surely has a very bright future ahead of him. Astana's Andriy Grivko, meanwhile, rounds off the podium in third.
Eneco Tour 2013, stage seven. Tienen - Geraardsbergen 208.km
1. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 5-00-03
2. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky +0-04
3. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin+ 0-12
4. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC +0-14
5. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge +0-17
6. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge +0-25
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin
8. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano
9. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise all st
Final general classification
1. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick 25-14-05
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned)Argos-Shimano +0-26
3. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana +0-50
4. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Leopard +0-55
5. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge +0-55
6. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step +1-20
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin +1-32
8. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge +1-34
9. Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana +2-07
10. Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Leopard +2-14
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Stephen Puddicombe is a freelance journalist for Cycling Weekly, who regularly contributes to our World Tour racing coverage with race reports, news stories, interviews and features. Outside of cycling, he also enjoys writing about film and TV - but you won't find much of that content embedded into his CW articles.
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