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ARDOOIE, Belgium (VN) — Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEdge) took the overall lead in the Eneco Tour on Saturday after winning the stage-6 individual time trial.
The Canadian TT specialist took the 17.4km stage in 20:25, five seconds ahead of American Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) with Lars Boom (Rabobank) third at six seconds.
“When I came across the line and saw my time, I was pretty surprised,” said Tuft. “I was hoping to have a really good time trial, but I didn’t expect to be in the leader’s jersey at this point in the race. It’s a great feeling.”
Phinney had set the early fast time of 20:30 in Ardooie. At the intermediate checkpoint, Tuft was less than a second behind Phinney. But by the finish, he had made up more than five seconds to move into the hot seat, where he stayed.
Tuft now leads the overall by four seconds over Boom and 16 over Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) with just one stage remaining, Sunday’s 214.5km leg from Maldegem to Geraardsbergen.
“We’re in a really good position with four riders in the top six,” said Tuft. “This gives us a lot to play with, and they’re all really strong guys. At this point, we haven’t discussed a plan for tomorrow yet, but we have options when we have numbers on our side. I’m expecting a good battle.”