ROERMOND, Netherlands (AFP) – New Zealand’s Jesse Sergent claimed victory in the fourth stage of the Eneco Tour Friday as Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen took over the race lead from Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert.
Sergent, who rides for RadioShack, finished the 14.7 km course 14 seconds ahead of Dane Alex Rasmussen (HTC-Highroad).
Gilbert, who held an overnight lead of 6 seconds on Team Sky rider Boasson Hagen, dropped to second overall at 12 ahead of Saturday’s penultimate stage over 189km around Genk.
Sergent, 23, competed in dry conditions but the majority of his rivals had to contend with the wind and a slippery road, making the Kiwi’s time of 17:55 unbeatable.
“I did not expect this at all,” said Sergent after his stage victory. “After my seventh place in the opening prologue, my confidence was up and I was hoping for a top-5 today. But my bad luck of yesterday became my good luck today. I only had 2K on wet roads.”
Boasson Hagen was the best of the later riders, finishing in ninth place some 30 seconds behind the winner.
“It was my intention to take the (leader’s) jersey this Friday but it turned out be more complicated than planned because of the wind and rain,” said Boasson Hagen.
“Twelve seconds lead on Gilbert with two stages to go – I don’t know if it will be enough. But I’ll do all I can to win this Eneco Tour,” added the 2009 winner ahead of the penultimate stage, which should favor the sprinters.
Prologue winner Taylor Phinney was eighth on the day and moved back up to fourth on the GC.
“It was pretty wet when I started and ended up clearing a bit, but the road were definitely wet,” Phinney said. “I managed to stay upright, which was good, and I didn’t take too many risks. I’m happy for Jesse. He’s one of the best up-and-coming time trialists in the world.”
- 1. Jesse SERGENT, (NZL) Team RadioShack, in 17:55
- 2. Alex RASMUSSEN, (DEN) HTC-Highroad, at 14
- 3. Jurgen ROELANDTS, (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto, at 20
- 4. Vladimir ISAICHEV, (RUS) Team Katusha, at 27
- 5. Lars BOOM, (NED) Rabobank Cycling Team, at 27
- 1. Edvald BOASSON HAGEN, (Norway) Team Sky, in 13:49:06
- 2. Philippe GILBERT, (Belgium) Omega Pharma-Lotto, at 12
- 3. David MILLAR, (Great Britain) Garmin-Cervelo, at 18
- 4. Taylor PHINNEY, (United States) BMC Racing Team, at 27
- 5. Jos VAN EMDEN, (Netherlands) Rabobank Cycling Team, at 47