ANDENNE, Belgium (AFP) – Belgium champion Philippe Gilbert of the Omega Pharma team won the third stage of the Eneco Tour on Thursday to take the overall race lead from American Taylor Phinney of BMC.
Gilbert made the decisive break seven kilometres from the line to cross the line alone several seconds ahead of Slovenian Grega Bole and Belgian Ben Hermans.
It is the 15th win this season for Gilbert, who holds a six-second lead on Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) with Scotland’s David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) 14 seconds off the pace.
“It was a very difficult final because there was a lot of head wind in the final five kilometres. And then it was a bit like Omega Pharma against the rest. Thankfully I know the route very well. It’s obviously an advantage,” explained the world’s number two-ranked rider.
Friday’s fourth stage is a 14.7km time-trial at Roermond in the Netherlands.
“It will be very complicated against the individual specialists, in particular against Edvald Boasson Hagen,” mused Gilbert.
Phinney is confident he can pull off a good time trial Friday.
“It was disappointing to lose my lead, but the team did a good job looking after me. When it came down to crunch time, I just didn’t have it. But I definitely feel like I can take time back. I’m really motivated to win the stage tomorrow,” he said.
- 1. Philippe GILBERT, (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto, in 4:54:53
- 2. Grega BOLE, (SLO) Lampre-Isd, at 8
- 3. Ben HERMANS, (BEL) Team RadioShack, at 8
- 4. Koen DE KORT, (NED) Skil-Shimano, at 8
- 5. Linus GERDEMANN, (GER) Leopard-Trek, at 8
- 1. Philippe GILBERT, (Belgium) Omega Pharma-Lotto, in 13:30:34
- 2. Edvald BOASSON HAGEN, (Norway) Team Sky, at 5
- 3. David MILLAR, (Great Britain) Garmin-Cervelo, at 13
- 4. Dominique CORNU, (Belgium) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, at 23
- 5. Ben HERMANS, (Belgium) Team RadioShack, at 25