Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has won the fifth stage of the 2013 Eneco Tour.
The French national time trial champion was the fastest against the clock on a technical 13.2km course in the Dutch town of Sittard-Geleen.
Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano) was second, while Radioshack-Leopard’s Jesse Sergent finished third.
Chavanel said he had started the stage with the intention of victory, convinced of his ability after winning the time trial stage of the Three Days of De Panne en route to overall victory in March, and the French time trial championships last month.
“There were a lot of good time trialists here, but honestly I was stressed waiting for [race leader] Lars Boom at the finish line, but fortunately everything went well,” Chavanel said.
“For me the parcour was perfect — really technical with a lot of corners. After the recon this morning, I understood that I could have won, so I stayed focused on the race and I made it.”
Chavanel, now second on GC, just four seconds off the overall lead, refused to rule out the prospect of aiming for overall victory, and with two Classics-style stages ahead, will be a strong contender.
But he diplomatically played up the chances of team-mates, Zdenek Stybar, winner of stage three, and eighth overall, 24 seconds back, and local hero, Niki Terpstra.
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), the Olympic time trial champion, could only manage fifth place today, despite setting the early pace.
Defending champion, Boom (Belkin Pro Cycling), finished tenth on the stage, some 20 seconds off the pace of Chavanel, but retained the overall lead of the race.
Tomorrow’s sixth stage has been billed as a mini Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and features the fearsome Cote de la Redoute.
World road race champion, Philippe Gilbert, set to race on raods that have featured in some of his greatest triumphs, will be among the favourites for victory on the 150km course from Riemst to Aywaille.
Eneco Tour 2013: stage five – result
1) Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep 16.04
2) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Argos-Shimano +4”
3) Jesse Sergent (NZL) – Radioshack-Leopard – ST
4) Sebastian Langeveld (NED) – Orica-GreenEDGE +6”
5) Bradley Wiggins (GBR) – Team Sky +9”
6) Taylor Phinney (USA – BMC Racing +11”
7) Vladimir Gusev (RUS) – Katusha +14”
8) Lieuwe Westra (NED) – Vacansoleil-DCM +17”
9) Andriy Grivko (UKR) – Astana +18”
10) Lars Boom (NED) – Belkin Pro Cycling +20”
1) Lars Boom (NED) – Belkin Pro Cycling – 16.22.39
2) Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep +4”
3) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Argos-Shimano +8”
4) Taylor Phinney (USA) – BMC Racing – ST
5) Sebastian Langeveld (NED) – Orica-GreenEDGE +10”
6) Philippe Gilbert (BEL) – BMC Racing +18”
7) Andriy Grivko (UKR) – Astana +23”
8) Zdenek Stybar (CZE) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep +24”
9) Vladimir Gusev (RUS) – Katusha +25”
10) Ian Stannard (GBR) – Team Sky +26”