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American beats Van Rensburg and Demare in the third consecutive bunch sprint of the Eurometropole Tour while Debusschere defends his overall lead on the eve of the final stage

Photo: Feltet.dk

ARNAUD DEMARE

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CIRCUIT FRANCO-BELGE

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EF EDUCATION - EASYPOST

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JENS DEBUSSCHERE

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REINARDT JANSE VAN RENSBURG

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TYLER FARRAR

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05.10.2013 @ 17:19 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) finally got some success at the end of a difficult season when the American beat Reinhardt Janse Van Rensburg (Argos-Shimano) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ) in the bunch sprint that decided the third stage of the Tour de l'Eurometropole, formerly Circuit Franco-Belge. Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol) beat 2nd placed Michael Mørkøv (Saxo-Tinkoff) in an intermediate sprint to extend his overall lead from 2 to 3 seconds.

 

It has been a difficult season for Tyler Farrar who has had difficulty finding back to the sprint level that once firmly positioned him near the top of the fast men's hierarchy. Despite getting an important win in the Tour of California, the American wasn't selected for the Tour de France and when he got his chance in the Vuelta a Espana, he failed to make much of an impact in the many confusing bunch sprints of the Spanish grand tour.

 

He still hasn't been offered a contract for next season but today he facilitated his search for a new team when he won the third stage of the Tour de l'Eurometropole. On a windy day in France and Belgium, the American stayed calm in the peloton throughout the day and asked his Garmin team to take control inside the final few kilometres when the final break had been caught. Farrar powered clear of his rivals and beat Reinhardt Janse Van Rensburg and Arnaud Demare in the final bunch sprint and so picked up 10 bonus seconds that moves him up towards the top of the GC.

 

Overall leader Jens Debusschere didn't enter the top 3 in today's sprint but won an intermediate sprint along the way ahead of his nearest rival Michael Mørkøv. That earned him 3 bonus seconds and so he extended his overall lead over Mørkøv from 2 to 3 seconds.

 

He takes that narrow lead into tomorrow's fourth and final stage. The 153,8km stage finishes with 7 laps on a 14,7km finishing circuit in Tournai that contains the Croix Jubaru climb. The stage is the hilliest of the race so far and may produce a bit more selection in the field of overall contenders which has so far mostly been separated by bonus seconds.

 

A flat stage

The 164,2km third and penultimate stage started in France and finished after 164,2km in Nieuwpoort in Belgium. The race passed four of the climbs known from Gent-Wevelgem early in the stage but finished with four laps on a completely flat 13,5km circuit close to the sea. A bunch sprint and plenty of crosswinds were expected.

 

As it has been the case the first two days, the race was off a to a very fast start with several attacks being neutralized in the early part of the race. Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp) was one of the first riders to try his hand but the 2011 Paris-Roubaix winner had no success. Jetse Bol (Belkin), Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun) and Gijs Van Hoecke (Topsport Vlaanderen) were the next to try but they were quickly reeled in.

 

The break is formed

Bol refused to give up and the Dutchman made a new attack. Maxim Belkov joined from behind and those two riders were allowed to build up a gap as they passed the first climb of the day. Mountains leader Frederic Amorison (Crelan) made a short attack to take 3rd on the ascent but fell back to the peloton a few moments later.

 

After the top, Heinrich Haussler (IAM) attacked and the Australian did a good job to close a gap that was already more than 2 minutes. Hence, a front trio was formed and they were allowed to build up a gap that reached a maximum of 5.47 while Vacansoleil controlled the pace in the peloton. The front trio picked up most of the mountain points with Amorison making sure to finish 4th on all the remaining ascents.

 

Crosswinds split the peloton

With 100km to go, Haussler beat Bol in the first intermediate sprint to pick up 3 important bonus seconds. At the same time, they hit a section with crosswind which automatically forced the pace in the peloton to go up. FDJ had now joined Vacansoleil on the front and the gap fell quickly.

 

Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Niklas Arndt (Argos-Shimano), Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEdge) set off in pursuit of the front trio but that move was quickly neutralized. Argos-Shimano had now taken control in the peloton and they were joined by Belkin who tried to split things up for the second day in a row.

 

Riders bridge across

With the gap down to less than 15 seconds, Bert-Jan Lindeman (Vacansoleil) tried to bridge across and a little later Stijn Steels (Crelan) tried a similar move. Those two riders joined the front trio but with 75km to go, everything was back together.

 

The fierce pace had split the peloton into three groups that was later reduced to two major bunches. However, the pace slowed down a bit and while the two groups merged, Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) and Gijs Van Hoecke (Topsport) attacked. Julien Stassen (Wallonie) and Jonas Rickaert (Belgium) bridged across and those four riders managed to build up a gap that reached more than a minute.

 

A battle for seconds

The peloton once again upped the pace and with 28km to go, things were back together in time for the second intermediate sprint. Overall winner Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol) beat 2nd placed Michael Mørkøv (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Haussler to open up a virtual 3-second lead on GC.

 

Adrien Petit (Cofidis) and Christophe Premont (Crelan) were the next to attack and they were joined by Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Belisol), Klaas Lodewyck (BMC), Alexander Porsev (Katusha), Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM), Johan Le Bon (FDJ.fr) and Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) to form a strong 9-rider group. The gap went up to almost 20 seconds when a big crash disrupted the chase in the peloton.

 

The break is caught

The front group contested the final intermediate sprint with Porsev beating Petit and Premont. A few kilometres into the final 13,5km lap, the break was neutralized.

 

Wallays refused to give up and this time he set off with Frantisek Rabon (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). The duo managed to get an advantage of 9 seconds but with 6km to go, the duo was caught.

 

All was now set for a final bunch sprint and Garmin-Sharp and Belkin made sure to keep the pace high on the run-in to the finish. In the end, Farrar paid back the hard work from his teamwork when he beat Van Rensburg and Demare in the sprint while Debusschere safely defended his leader's jersey.

 

Result:

1. Tyler Farrar 3.47.16

2. Reinhardt Janse Van Rensburg

3. Arnaud Demare

4. Jempy Drucker

5. Nicolas Vereecken

6. John Degenkolb

7. Evaldas Siskevicius

8. Kenneth Vanbilsen

9. Bert De Backer

10. Jens Debusschere

 

General classification:

1. Jens Debusschere 12.12.41

2. Michael Mørkøv +0.03

3. Tyler Farrar +0.07

4. John Degenkolb

5. Jempy Drucker +0.11

6. Nikolas Maes

7. Kenneth Vanbilsen +0.12

8. Kristof Goddaert

9. Arnaud Demare +0.13

10. Heinrich Haussler

 

Points classification:

1. Tyler Farrar 53

2. Jens Debusschere 52

3. John Degenkolb 35

4. Jempy Drucker 34

5. Kenneth Vanbilsen 27

 

Mountains classification:

1. Frederic Amorison 53

2. Jelle Wallays 39

3. Johann Van Zyl 19

4. Johnny Hoogerland 16

5. Maxim Belkov 16

 

Youth classification:

1. Jens Debusschere 12,12,41

2. John Degenkolb +0.07

3. Kenneth Vanbilsen +0.12

4. Arnaud Demare +0.13

5. Laurens De Vreese +0.14

 

Teams classification:

1. Argos-Shimano 36.38.54

2. Belkin

3. IAM

4. Topsport Vlaanderen

5. Lotto Belisol

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