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Farrar rules the Benelux! Eneco Tour Stage 1

Continuing a streak of late-season form, Garmin's Tyler Farrar took another sprintvictory winning the first stage of the Eneco Tour. In the absence of his season archenemy Mark Cavendish he comfortably outsprinted Tom Boonen and Edvald Boasson Hagen to take the stage and the leaders-jersey.  Behind him a bad crash ruined the day for a large part of the field. 

Final kilometer (with crash) video from CyclingTV.

More video from Sporza

Full story of the day on the flip.

(ED: Now with the correct GC)

The day which always looked destined to end in a sprint contained he obligatory early break. Five men  Bak (Saxo),  Bodnar (Liq), Arashiro (Bbox), DeVocht (Vacansoleil) and Vanspreybrouck (Sil-Lotto) never got that much of a lead thanks to combined efforts of Garmin and QuickStep who obviously liked their chances in the sprint. A slight bit of excitement in the chase came when the peloton had to stop at a traincrossing and the break gained a bonus-minute on the chase. Boonen managed to contain himself and waited politely with the rest of the peloton. Clever boy, impulsecontrol is key.

Bodnar and Arashiro made a last ditch attempt to stay away but they gave in to the inevitable with about 5 km to go. At this point some of the other teams including Columbia-HTC had begun floating to the front, driving the pace of the chase up. QuickStep had a bit of a scare as Boonen punctured with less than 10 km to but helped by a fast wheelchange and some teammates he  was comfortably back at the front of the peloton well in time for the sprint.

In the sprint Farrar didn't need much assistance from his team to stay ahead of a hard charging Boonen and a small band of riders that managed to escape the mayhem behind. From the helicoptershots you can see Koldo Fernandez of Euskaltel bouncing around all over the road trying to find an opening. Seeing a gap to the left he veers once again, this time running into Baden Cooke going for the same opening. They both go down, taking a string of riders with them. Carnage ensued.

Farrar, King of August now leads the race with Boonen lurking behind. Tomorrows stage, besides passing some of the mythical places from the the belgian springclassics, also passes through Boonens hometown so there is no doubt he will be hoping for a win here which could also give him the lead in the race. Today we got a glimpse of the old Boonen, sprinting hard to the finish so it isn't out of his reach. Judging by Farrars display today though he is clearly the fastest man in the race making him the favourite even against a once-again motivated Tornado Tom on hometurf.

Todays Top 10

1 Tyler Farrar Garmin - Slipstream 4.18'40
2 Tom Boonen Quick Step 4.18'40
3 Edvald Boasson Hagen Team Columbia - High Road 4.18'40
4 Graeme Brown Rabobank 4.18'40
5 Robert Forster Team Milram 4.18'40
6 Yauheni Hutarovich Française Des Jeux 4.18'40
7 Tom Veelers Skill-Shimano 4.18'40
8 Roy Sentjens Silence-Lotto 4.18'40
9 Mathew Hayman Rabobank 4.18'40
10 Juan Jose' Haedo Team Saxo Bank 4.18'40

GC after Stage 1

1 Tyler Farrar Garmin - Slipstream 4.23'26
2 Tom Boonen Quick Step 4
3 Sylvain Chavanel Quick Step 9
4 Edvald Boasson Hagen Team Columbia - High Road 10
5 Bradley Wiggins Garmin - Slipstream 11
6 Joost Posthuma Rabobank 11
7 Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas 13
8 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni Rabobank 13
9 Maarten Tjallingii Rabobank 14
10 Nikolas Maes Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 14