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Theo Bos proved that he doesn’t need a formidable lead-out train to emerge victorious, beating defending champion Jens Debusschere and so far invincible Arnaud Demare in the 3 stage of the Tour de l’Eurometropole.

Photo: Le Tour de Langkawi 2014

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04.10.2014 @ 16:51 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Theo Bos proved again that he doesn’t need a formidable lead-out train to emerge victorious, when he denied last year’s overall winner Jens Debusschere and so far invincible Arnaud Demare in a predictable bunch sprint finale of the 3 stage of the Tour de l’Eurometropole today.

 

Winner of previous two stages, Demare (FDJ.fr), maintained his lead in the general classification and will line-up wearing the leaders jersey at the start of the ultimate stage of the event tomorrow.

 

Eight withdrawals

Riders took the start of the Tour de l’Eurometropole 3rd stage enjoying a perfect weather conditions, ready to traverse the 174-kilometre long course from Blankenberge to Middelkerke. There were eight overnight withdrawals: Wouter Mol (Veranclassic-Doltcini), Frank Vermeulen (Roubaix-Lille Métropole), Maxime Vantomme (Roubaix-Lille Métropole), Marco Haller (Katusha), Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka), Willem Wauters (Veranda Willems), Laurent Evrard (Wallonie-Bruxelles), David Boucher (FDJ.fr).

 

A five-man breakaway

As it was a case in two previous stages, a big fight took place right after the gun went off, as many riders were eager to join a day’s breakaway. This time it took about 10 kilometers of racing before the right combination was created, but the elastic snapped immediately after a five-rider group consisting of Matthew Hayman (Orica - Green Edge), Morgan Lamoisson (Europcar), Vegard Laegen Stake (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Gorik Gardeyn (Veranclassic-Doltcini), Boris Dron (Wallonie-Bruxelles) took off.

 

Peloton takes it easy

The peloton clearly took it easy today, and since only FDJ team seemed to be interested in controlling the pace and keeping Arnaud Demare -  so far invincible in this year’s edition of Tour de l’Eurometropole, safe, escapees advantage has quickly increased to over 7’00” with 130 kilometers to go.

 

The gap slightly went down when the breakaway hit two major ascents inserted on today’s route, where points to KOM classification were on offer. Dron beat Hayman and Gardeyn at De Bergvallei climb, while Gardeyi emerged as the strongest ahead of Dron and Lamoisson at slightly more demanding Zwavezele.

 

FDJ, Giant-Shimano and OPQS take control

The escapees’ advantage increased again to over 8’00” and as it remained stable despite FDJ efforts at the front, Omega Pharma – Quick Step, Cofidis and Giant-Shimano decided to join the fun and help leader’s team in pace setting with 90 kilometers to go.

 

Joined forces have brought immediate results as the gap went down to about 5’30” in next 20 kilometers. Meanwhile, the second hour of racing has passed with a not too impressive average of 43.9 km/h.

 

Escapees reach final circuit

The riders were anticipating a hectic finale of today’s stage as crosswinds inside the final 50 kilometers were expected to occur. The first split happened before the peloton has reached final circuit around Middelkerke, but everything quickly came back together and all general classification contenders managed to stay away of troubles.

 

Lamoisson oversprinted Laegen and Dron to take the first intermediate sprint. The real racing have begun when the peloton reached final circuit with four 14-kilometre long laps to go, as Giant-Shimano, FDJ and Omega Pharma – Quick Step dictated a fierce pace at the front.

 

Peloton bursts into pieces

A furious pace dictated by sprinters’ squads wreaked havoc in the peloton, which effectively burst into pieces while negotiating the first lap. Leaders group quickly gained an advantage over the rest of the peloton which split into two pieces, but no big names were left behind.

Meanwhile, a third hour or racing has passed and an average has increased to 45.1 km/h, what was a reflection of a huge work done by sprinters’ teams at the front of the peloton. With 3 laps to go the escapees’ advantage went down to 3’47” and so they certainly could fancy their chances to outsmart the powerful peloton today.

 

In the second intermediate sprint Lamoisson oversprinted Laegen and Dron, while Hayman changed Dron in the third place in the last intermediate sprint of the day. In that time, with only one lap to go, the gap between escapees and leaders group went down to only 1’05”, while the remaining groups of divided peloton were losing 7’09” and 8’33” respectively.

 

Tinkoff-Saxo and Lotto-Belisol joined FDJ, OPQS and Cofidis in pace setting in order to catch the five-rider group on time, what took place with only 3 kilometers from the finish line.

The breakaway is caught

A pace dictated by sprinters’ teams denied late attacks and turned out to be too fierce for many riders from leaders group, including Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano). At this point, it was absolutely clear that the stage, again, will be decided from a bunch sprint and Demare will be provided with a chance to make it three at the Tour de l’Eurometropole..  

 

Stage 3 results:
1. Theo Bos (Belkin)
2. Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Belisol)
3. Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr)
4. Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Green Edge)
5. Ramon Sinkeldam (Giant-Shimano)
6. Baptiste Planckaert (Roubaix-Lille Métropole)
7. Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo)
8. Sondre Holst Enger (IAM)
9. Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick.Step)
10. Michael Van Staeyen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)

 

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