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One day after his great comeback in stage 2, Dumoulin proved his class by narrowly beating Cancellara in the 9.6km time trial; Boom finished ninth and took over the leader’s jersey

Photo: ©A.S.O. / P. Perreve

FABIAN CANCELLARA

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GERAINT THOMAS

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TEAM LOTTONL-JUMBO

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TEAM SUNWEB

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TOM DUMOULIN

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13.08.2014 @ 17:11 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) lived up to his status as favourite and bounced back from yesterday’s disappointment when he won today’s time trial of the Eneco Tour. The Dutch champion narrowly beat Fabian Cancellara (Trek) by 2 seconds while Lars Boom (Belkin) finished 9th to take the leader’s jersey for the third year in a row.

 

Yesterday Tom Dumoulin almost lost all hopes of the overall victory in the Eneco Tour when a late puncture threatened to take him completely out of GC contention. A great performance by him and his team allowed him to rejoin the peloton and limit his losses to those of his rivals that had made it into the front group.

 

Despite his hard work in yesterday’s stage, Dumoulin proved that he is a very serious candidate for the overall victory when he lived up to his status as favourite by winning today’s 9.6km time trial in the Dutch city of Breda. The Dutchman covered the course in a time of 10.55 to become one of just two riders to go below the 11-minute mark.

 

Due to his time loss, Dumoulin started rather early but as lots of time trial specialists have already lost time in the overall classification, very competitive times had already been posted. As expected, the leader was Fabian Cancellara who has covered the course in an impressive 10.57 to put no less than 13 seconds into his Trek teammate Jesse Sergent who had been sitting in the hot seat for a while.

 

However, Dumoulin was even faster than Cancellara, stopping the clock in a time that was 2 seconds better than the Swiss’. Moments earlier, Geraint Thomas (Sky) had beaten Sergent and the Brit ended the stage in third to take back some of time he lost in yesterday’s stage.

 

Dumoulin now faced a nervous wait in the hot seat but only Manuel Quinziato (BMC) managed to crack the top 5 among the late starters, the Italian slotting into fourth. Alex Dowsett (Movistar) who was expected to be one of his biggest threats, had a poor ride and finished outside the top 10.

 

Quinziato’s time was good enough to make him the provisional leader of the race but the Italian missed out on the chance to wear the leader’s jersey. Having gone into the stage in second overall, Lars Boom did a solid ride to take 9th and take the overall lead with a 4-second advantage over Quinziato and Dumoulin.

 

As expected, Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was unable to defend his lead but the Czech did a great performance to finish 22nd. That means that he only dropped to fifth and with a 12-second deficit to Boom, he is still very much in contention for another overall win in the race.

 

Boom will wear the leader’s jersey in tomorrow’s fourth stage which is the first in Belgium. The stage is completely flat and should be the final opportunity for the sprinters but as bad weather is forecasted, nervousness and crashes may cause splits as it did in yesterday’s dramatic stage.

 

A short, flat time trial

After two flat stages, it was time for the first major test for the GC riders in the short 9.6km time trial. It was held on a completely flat, not very technical out-and-back course in the Dutch city of Breda and was expected to create the first small time differences in the overall standings.

 

After two rainy days, the riders were pleased to start the time trial in dry conditions. It was pretty windy but the conditions were set to be the same for everybody.

 

Cummings sets an early mark

The first rider down the ramp was Evan Huffman (Astana) who set the early mark. Already the second rider went better though as U23 world champion Damien Howson (Orica-GreenEDGE) set a time of 11.52 to become the early leader of the stage.

 

His time in the hot seat didn’t last for many minutes as Stephen Cummings (BMC) lowered the mark by a massive 40 seconds, stopping the clock in a time of 11.12. He got an immediate scare as two minutes ater Moreno Moser (Cannondale) powered across the line in a time that was just 1 second slower.

 

No glory for Dennis

Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) cracked the top three with a time of 11.21 while his teammate Nathan Haas had a disappointing ride with 11.50. Daniel Oss (BMC) slotted into third with a time of 11.18 to make it two BMC riders on the provisional podium.

 

Gatis Smukulis (Katusha) had a good ride with the fifth best time but the focus was now on one of the pre-race favourites Rohan Dennis (BMC). However, the Australian could not match the best and posted a time of 11.15 that was only good enough for third.

 

Hepburn misses out

Another outsider for the stage was Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEDGE) but like Dennis he was slightly off the mark. His time of 11.20 was only good enough for the provisional fifth place.

 

Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) showed glimpses of form by slotting into ninth with a time of 11.49 but he was quickly relegated by Danny Van Poppel (Trek) who set the 8th best time. Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r) was the next rider to crack the top 10 and Yves Lampaert (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg also got a short stint among the 10 best riders.

 

Good ride by Van Emden

Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff-Saxo) posted the 10th best time but was quickly beaten by Simon Geschke (Giant-Shimano) who set the 9th best time. Jos Van Emden (Belkin) had made the stage a big goal and he did well by slotting into 5th.

 

Former Belgian champion Stijn Devolder (Trek) was far off the mark and David Millar (Garmin) could only manage 11th. All eyes now were on Sergent who was expected to be one of the best riders in the stage.

 

Best time for Cancellara

The Kiwi lowered the mark by 2 seconds and held off the strong challenge by Silvan Dillier (BMC) who was 5th. However, Cancellara was already on the course and he crushed the opposition by stopping the clock in a time of 10.57 to go 13 seconds faster than his teammate.

 

Dylan Van Baarle (Garmin) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) couldn’t crack the top 10 and the attention had now turned to Sebastian Langeveld (Garmin) who had a disappointing ride, slotting into 10th. Moments later, Thomas powered across the line in a time of 11.05 to move into third.

 

Dumoulin takes the lead

Dumoulin finished less than 3 minutes later to relegate the Brit to third and push Cancellara out of the hot seat and he could make a sigh of relief when Dowsett could only manage 11th. Niki Terpstra (OPQS) cracked the top 10 by slotting into 9th before Quinziato powered across the line with the fourth best time.

 

Bauke Mollema (Belkin) had a disastrous ride with 112th while Andriy Grivko (Astana) confirmed his status as GC candidate by finishing 7th. The focus was now on Philippe Gilbert (BMC) who had a poor ride to make it into 21st.

 

Boom and Stybar were the final riders on the course and as expected, Boom was the stronger of the two. He finished 9th to take the leader’s jersey while Stybar limited his losses well to keep his GC hopes alive.

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