Team Sky’s David Lopez tamed La Redoute to win stage six of the 2013 Eneco Tour.
Lopez, who had spent the day in the breakway, beat the fast-finishing Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) to the line at the end of the 150km stage in the Ardennes.
Maciej Paterski (Cannondale Pro Cycling) finished third on the day, ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano), who took over the race lead from Lars Boom (Belkin Pro Cycling).
Team Sky directeur sportif Servais Knaven said: “It was a fantastic ride from David – a really good performance and really nice for him because he is always helping the team.
“We knew they [the breakaway riders] had a good chance of staying away, but the chasers came back at them really fast in the last 10km. He showed great experience in the final kilometre, though.
“He was one of the strongest riders in the breakaway and was able to follow all the moves. He was really strong and motivated today.”
Lopez was one of 11 riders who made the breakaway on a stage which finished with three ascents of La Redoute, the steep climb made famous by Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
A crash in the peloton forced Gabriel Rasch (Team Sky) and Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing), who started the day fourth in the GC, to abandon, while the favourite for the stage, Philippe Gilbert, was forced to embark on a long chase with his BMC team-mates to regain contact.
The peloton was blown to pieces on the first ascent of La Redoute, with two main groups forming, while the breakaway splintered on the second loop to leave three riders – Lopez, Paterski and Angel Madrazo (Movistar) – out front.
The trio had a lead of just over a minute going into the final 10km and Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano) drove the pace at the front of the peloton to reduce that advantage to the 20 second mark with the final climb to come.
That setup a tight finish and Lopez held off stage three winner Stybar, who had jumped from the front of the chasing group, to claim a fine win.
Eneco Tour 2013 – stage six – result
1) David Lopez (SPA) – Team Sky – 3:51:13 hours
2) Zdenek Stybar (CZE) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep +2″
3) Maciej Paterski (POL) – Cannondale Pro Cycling – same time
4) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Argos-Shimano +3″
5) Jan Bakelants (BEL) – Radioshack-Leopard – same time
6) Angel Madrazo Ruiz (SPA) – Movistar
7) Lieuwe Westra (NED) – Vacansoleil-DCM
8) Daryl Impey (RSA) – Orica-GreenEDGE
9) Nick Nuyens (BEL) – Garmin-Sharp +12″
10) Arnold Jeannesson (FRA) FDJ – same time
1) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Argos-Shimano – 20:14:03 hours
2) Zdenek Stybar (CZE) Omega Pharma-QuickStep +9″
3) Andriy Grivko (UKR) – Astana +24″
4) Jan Bakelants (BEL) – Radioshack-Leopard +29″
5) Daryl Impey (RSA) – Orica-GreenEDGE – same time
6) Lieuwe Westra (NED) – Vacansoleil-DCM +37″
7) Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep +50″
8) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Belkin Pro Cycling +1’07”
9) Pieter Weening (NED) – Orica-GreenEDGE +1’16”
10) Maxim Iglinskiy (KAZ) – Astana +1’33”