By VeloNews Interactive wire services
With one day remaining, world time trial champion Sergei Gontchar (Liquigas-Pata) held onto the overall lead at the Tour of the Netherlands, while Telekom’s Danilo Hondo took the stage 5 win on Friday. U.S. Postal Service’s Viatcheslav Ekimov holds down third place overall, with Mercury’s Leon Van Bon just behind in fifth. Americans Dylan Casey (U.S. Postal Service) and Chris Wherry (Mercury) also find themselves in the top 10.
Gontchar took the race lead on Thursday’s stage 4 time trial, a 23km course in Denekamp. The Ukrainian beat Dutchman Bart Voskamp (Bankgiroloterij) by 33 seconds, followed by Ekimov and Van Bon.
Back from the broken pelvis he suffered at the Four Days of Dunkirk in May, Casey put in a solid sixth-place ride in the time trial, 1:02 behind Gontchar and enough to move him into seventh overall.
Wherry, coming off his second-place overall at the Tour of Limousin a week ago, took 10th in the time trial on Thursday, and holds down that same spot in the overall, just behind teammate Peter Van Petegem.
On Friday, the race headed from Markelo/Goor to Venlo, in the southern part of the country, and the 191km stage came down to a sprint finish, with Hondo outkicking South African Rob Hunter (Lampre-Daikin) for the stage win.
The five-day tour concludes on Saturday in Landgraaf, the Netherlands.
1. Danilo Hondo (G), Telekom, 191km in 4:59:27; 2. Rob Hunter (SA), Lampre-Daikin; 3. John den Braber (Nl), AXA-VVZ; 4. Steven de Jongh (Nl), Rabobank; 5. Geert Van Bondt (B), Mercury, all s.t.
1. Sergei Gontchar (Ukr), Liquigas-Pata; 2. Bart Voskamp (Nl), Bankgiroloterij, at 0:26; 3. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), U.S. Postal Service, at 0:39; 4. Hunter, at 0:49; 5. Leon Van Bon (Nl), Mercury, at 0:50; 6. Hondo, at 0:52; 7. Dylan Casey (USA), U.S. Postal Service, at 1:07; 8. Frank Hoj (Dk), Coast, at 1:10; 9. Peter Van Petegem (B), Mercury, at 1:16; 10. Chris Wherry (USA), Mercury, s.t.