By Andrew Hood
Dutch rider Rik Reinerink (BankGiroLoterij) disrupted the sprinters’ party in the 191km fifth stage of the Tour of Holland while wily Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov (USPS) retained the overall lead Friday.
Reinerink held out in a long solo breakaway and came through to claim the stage victory some 11 seconds ahead of the main bunch led by sprinter Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), a winner of the Dutch tour’s opening two stages. American Fred Rodriguez (Caldirola) came through 10th.
Saturday’s final stage is 213.9km from Sittard-Geleen to Landgraaf in Holland’s hilly Limburg region. U.S. Postal is well-positioned for victory with both Ekimov and Victor Hugo Peña, now second at 8 seconds back.
“We have a pretty strong team here and our goal over the first three days was to try and keep the race under control until the time trial stage,” said Dirk Demol, the Postal’s assistant sport director. “With Eki and Victor, we knew we had two (time trial) specialists and wanted to see what could happen.”
Postal will be watching for Rabobank to go on the attack. Last year, the Dutch team managed to snatch victory away from Peña, who had won the time trial and entered the final stage as race leader.
“The final stage is a very difficult one and follows much of the Amstel Gold Race course,” Demol said. “The gaps are small between the lead riders but with the first two riders in the GC, we are in a good position.”
43rd Tour of Holland (UCI 2.1), Stage 5, 191km
1. RikReinerink (Ned), BankGiro Loterij 4 hours, 33 minutes, 10 seconds, 42.08 kph
2. Alessandro Petacchi (I), Fassa Bortolo +0:11
3. Erik Zabel (G), Telekom
4. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step
5. Yuri Mitlushenko (Ukr), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago – all same timeOverall standings after five stages
1. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), USPS 15 hours, 22 minutes, 30 seconds2. Victor Hugo Peña (Col), USPS +0:08
3. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), Fassa Bortolo +0:09
4. Mark Wauters (B), Rabobank +0:19
5. Sergei Gontchar (Ukr), De Nardi-Colpack +0:34
Lelli claims Limousin
Italian Massimiliano Lelli (Cofidis) won the Tour of Limousin on Friday in the fourth and final stage that saw race leader Didier Rous (Boulangere) abandoned after crashing.
A 13-man breakaway that peeled away early in the 178km stage from Brive to Limoges, but with several contenders in the breakaway, Cofidis and Boulangere worked hard to bring them back coming into the finish circuits.
With the victory almost in his hands, Rous crashed hard as part of a mass pileup involving 15 riders about 20km to go. The 2003 French champion had to be evacuated by helicopter to a hospital in Limoges. X-rays later revealed a fractured clavicle.
Austrian Bernhard Eisel (fdjeux.com) edged Julen Fernandez (Euskaltel) to claim the stage victory while Evgeni Petrov (iBanesto.com) came in third at 10 seconds back.
Jean Delatour’s Laurent Lefevre couldn’t make up the time difference to Lelli and the Italian claimed the overall title.
Tour of Limousin (UCI 2.3), Stage 4, 178km
1. Bernard Eisel (Aut), Fdjeux.com 4 hours, 23 minutes, 17 seconds, 40.29 kph
2. Julen Fernandez (Sp), Euskaltel +0:02
3. Evgeni Petrov (Rus), ibanesto.com +0:10
4. Angelo Lopeboselli (I), Cofidis +0:52
5. Freddy Bichot (F) +0:53
Final overall standings
1. Massimiliano Lelli (I), Cofidis 17 hours, 28 minutes, 30 seconds
2. Laurent Lefevre (F), Jean Delatour +0:02
3. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Credit Agricole +0:47
4. Dimitry Fofonov (Kaz), Cofidis
5. Mederic Clain (F), Cofidis – all same time