By VeloNews Interactive , AFP 2001
Dutchman Leon Van Bon snatched the overall victory at the Tour of the Netherlands after joining a six-man breakaway on the final day of the race on Saturday. The Mercury rider finished 6 seconds ahead of fellow Dutchman Erik Dekker (Rabobank) in the overall. Dekker won the 228.4km final stage between Blerick and Landgraaf, while Van Bon finished fifth.
The breakaway group escaped 79 kilometers into the race and built a gap that couldn’t be closed by race leader Sergei Gontchar and his Liquigas team. Dekker was not part of the original break, but he bridged up with 15km to go and then attacked to beat German Stephan Schreck (Deutsche Telekom) for the win. Dekker came just six seconds shy of taking the overall win when Van Bon rolled in 17 seconds back to lock up the overall victory.
The final stage was held in rainy conditions on some of the same roads as the Amstel Gold World Cup race. The home win for Van Bon was a bright spot in a difficult season with the unstable Mercury team. Van Bon’s American teammate Chris Wherry finished 12th overall, while Antonio Cruz of the U.S. Postal Service finished 17th overall.
TOUR OF THE NETHERLANDS, August 28-September 1. The Netherlands.;;
1. Erik Dekker (Nl), Rabobank, 228.4km in 5:54:00 (38.64 kph); 2. Stephan Schreck (G), Deutsche Telekom, s.t.; 3. Maarten Den Bakker (Nl), Rabobank, at 0:02; 4. Kevin Hulsman (B), Mapei-Quick Step, at 0:17; 5. Leon Van Bon (Nl), Mercury, s.t.;;
1. Van Bon, 21:47:31; 2. Dekker, at 0:06; 3. Sergei Gontchar (Ukr), (Liquigas-Pata), at 0:27; 4. Paul Van Hyfte (B), Lotto-Adecco, at 0:42; 5. Bart Voskamp (Nl), Bankgiroloterij-Batavus, at 0:53.
12. Chris Wherry (USA), Mercury, at 1:43; 17. Antonio Cruz (USA), U.S. Postal Service, at 1:58.