SINT WILLEBRORD, Netherlands — André Greipel (Omega Pharma) won the first stage of the Eneco Tour Tuesday, as prologue winner Taylor Phinney (BMC) retained the leader’s jersey.
Phinney avoided several pile-ups, including a large one in the middle of the field with one kilometer to go in the 192.1 km stage.
Phinney led out the sprint, finishing seventh.
“I was feeling good at the end,” Phinney said. “Rabobank made a big push to try and split the field and I was right up there with great help from Greg Van Avermaet and Karsten Kroon in the final.
“We had (Michael) Schär, (Johann) Tschopp and (Simon) Zahner on the front all day. And Steve Morabito and Yannick Eijssen also did great work. I’m really thankful to them for all their help today.”
Greipel said the final-kilometer accident was no surprise.
“There wasn’t a lot of space and it was pretty narrow in the final straight,” said Greipel.
“However, I managed to sort myself out. Tomorrow (Wednesday), it will be another stage for the sprinters. I hope that things work out for me as well as they did today.”
The final crash was one of a series during the stage which saw French duo Sebastian Minard (Ag2r) and Arnaud Labbe (Cofidis) forced to retire from the race.
Wednesday’s second stage is a 173.7km ride in Belgium beginning in Aalter and finishing at Ardooie. Thursday’s stage in the Ardennes is consider the queen stage, with many of the regions sharp hills that should give pre-race favorite Philippe Gilbert opportunities to attack.
- 1. André Greipel, Omega Pharma-Lotto, in 4:21:20
- 2. Denis Galimzyanov, Katusha Team, at s.t.
- 3. Tyler Farrar, Team Garmin-Cervelo, at s.t.
- 4. Theo Bos, Rabobank Cycling Team, at s.t.
- 5. Tom Veelers, Skil-Shimano, at s.t.
- 1. Taylor Phinney, Bmc Racing Team, in 4:28:17
- 2. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky Procycling, at 7
- 3. David Millar, Team Garmin-Cervelo, at 8
- 4. Alex Rasmussen, HTC-Highroad, at 9
- 5. Lars Boom, Rabobank Cycling Team, at 10