FDJ's Johan Le Bon outsprinted Dylan van Baarle from Cannondale-Garmin to take the hilly fifth stage of the ENECO Tour and move within a eight seconds of the overall lead. Le Bon and van Baarle worked together brilliantly over the rolling and occasionally flat final km of this stage marked by drenching rain and Amstel Gold Race climbs in the Limburg region of the Netherlands, eventually securing enough of a lead to contest the stage. Le Bon got a gap on van Baarle in the final 1500 meters, thanks to his more confident cornering on wet, tricky roads, and took the win relatively easily. The two survived over 120km on the attack, thanks in part to their time trialling ability, with 27 seconds in hand over the peloton and a mere nine seconds over two key contenders, Wilco Kelderman of LottoNL-Jumbo and Tim Wellens of Lotto-Soudal. Le Bon's win rescues FDJ's ENECO Tour from the misery that had engulfed the team as David Boucher was sent home for the rare instance of insubordination... not good for any team's morale.
Speaking of rescuing a team's hopes, LottoNL's fate was rescued by Kelderman's work in securing the overall leadership of the race (by a mere second over van Baarle), after overnight leader Jos van Emden saw his fate sealed by the peloton's inability to catch either the two leaders or the five chasers including their main threat, 2014 ENECO Tour winner Wellens. Kelderman might have done more to extend his lead, but instead he raced defensively on behalf of van Emden's position and allowed Wellens and his teammate Andre Greipel to do the work of chasing the leaders. He took over the lead anyway, and vows to defend it over tomorrow's Liège-Bastogne-Liège-style stage and Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen imitation. Van Baarle will give Kelderman a challenge, for certain. Le Bon (+9") is not expected to threaten for the win, but you never know, and better-known threats like Wellens (+19"), Lars Boom (+20"), Greg Van Avermaet (+26") and Philippe Gilbert (+29") are lurking still.
- Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ 4:13:50
- Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Cannondale - Garmin
- Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:09
- Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
- Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
- André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 0:00:11
- Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant - Alpecin 0:00:15
- Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:27
- Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
- Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team
- Van Baarle, at 0:00:01
- Le Bon, at 0:00:08
- Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:13
- Wellens, at 0:00:19
- Boom, at 0:00:20
- Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:26
- Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:29
- Gilbert, s.t.
- Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:34
Riemst - Sittard-Geleen 179.6 km
As you can clearly tell from the profile above this is Amstel Gold day. Get your climbing legs.
Grand Tourist of the Day: Greg van Avermaet
Barring meddling motobikes I can see GvA not coming second today.