André Greipel (HTC-Columbia) won the second stage of the Eneco Tour of Benelux on Thursday, out-kicking Katusha’s Robbie McEwen in a field sprint into the Belgian town of Ardooie.
McEwen, winner of Wednesday’s first stage, finished ahead of Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky).
Garmin-Transitions’ Svein Tuft winner of the prologue on Tuesday, finished in the main field and held on to his overall lead.
The day was marked by the long 185-kilometer break by three riders – break (185 km) of three men – Stijn Neirynck, (Topsport Vlaanderen), Michal Golas (Vacansoleil) and Miguel Minguez Ayala, (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Led by Tuft’s Garmin squad, however, the break was reeled in some 15km from the finish and the peloton jostled for the expected field sprint.
“I decided to watch Boasson Hagen’s wheel going in to the sprint,” said Greipel. “It turned out to be the right choice.”
Greipel launched off of the Sky rider’s wheel with 200 meters to go and passed McEwen to earn his 17th win of the season. Greipel recently announced plans to join the Belgian Omega Pharma team next year.
The race continues Friday with a 192km race around Ronse, Belgium, a stage that is reminiscent of the Tour of Flanders, including several famous climbs, among them the Kwaremont.
Tuft, who holds only a three second lead over defending Eneco champion Boasson Hagen, said he expects “to be put in difficulty tomorrow, but I will fight to keep the jersey.”