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Ligthart is part of 4-rider breakaway that keeps the peloton at bay on totally flat course while Boom finishes safely in the bunch win the race overall









16.06.2013 @ 15:41 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The final highly anticipated battle between Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish came to nothing as 4 riders surprisingly managed to hold off the peloton on the completely flat final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer. Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil) was the fastest of the escapees while Lars Boom (Blanco) finished safely in the bunch to take home the overall win in one of the biggest stage races in his home country.


The final completely flat stage of the Ster ZLM Toer was expected to end up in a huge bunch sprint between the three giants Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish but as it had been the case in stage 2 where they were surprisingly beaten by Theo Bos (Blanco), they came away empty-handed. A 5-rider breakaway was surprisingly strong and held off the peloton.


Birthday boy Pim Lighart (Vacansoleil) was the man to benefit from the miscalculations of the sprinters' teams as the former Dutch champion emerged as the fastest of the front group. The win is certainly a relief for his Dutch team which has so far only won two races this year.


The 176,2km stage from Gerwen to Boxtel was a technical but flat affair and with plenty of world class sprinters, few would have expected the stage to conclude in anything different from a bunch sprint. Nonetheless, 6 riders tried to defy expectations by launching an attack early on and they were quickly allowed to build up a gap.


The break consisted of Ligthart, Yves Lampert (Topsport Vlaanderen), Sven Vandousselaere (Topsport Vlaanderen), Steven Lammertink (Cycling Team Jo Piels), Arno van der Zwet (Koga) and Brian van Goethem (Metec) and the sextet was 3.50 ahead when the peloton started to control the pace. For most of the day, the kept the group under firm control and the advantage hovered between the three and four minutes mark.


Lampaert and Lammertink were tied in the lead of the sprint competition and so the two had entered the break to battle for the white jersey. The first sprint was won by Lammertink and the Topsport Vlaanderen team made a huge mistake as Lampaert's teammate Vandousselaere finished 2nd while Lampaert had to settle for third. At this point, the gap had grown to 4.05.


As they approached the second and final sprint, the gap had been reduced to 3.30 and the escapees now started to attack each other. Van Goethem and van der Zwet were the first to try and when they were brought back, Ligthart countered. The former Dutch champion had no success either and instead Lampaert and Lammertink tried their hands.


They also got nowhere and just 1000m from the sprint Lighart and Lammertink both tried again. They were, however, brought back in time for Lampaert to beat Vandousselaere and Lammertink in the sprint, thus allowing the Belgian to win the sprint competition.


The gap was now 3.20 and the front group once again started to cooperate. Nonetheless, the gap had been reduced to 2.30 with 35km to go and the peloton appeared to have everything under control.


With 25km to go, the gap had, however, grown to 2.35 and the breakaway started to see a glimpse of hope. 10km from the finish, they still enjoyed a healthy 1.30 lead and the odds were suddenly inf avour of the breakaway.


Bos punctured and so lost all hopes of success while Lammertink was dropped from the front group with just 4km to go. As they passes the 3km mark, the advantage was still 30 seconds.


Under the flamme rouge, the 5 remaining riders still had 10 seconds in their hands and Van Goethem now tried to break away. He did, however, not get anywhere and instead it came down to a sprint between the escapees.


Ligthart proved his status as a fast finisher by holding off Vandousselaere and van Goethem while van der Zwet had to settle for fourth. Lampaert was caught by the peloton in which Greipel emerged as the fastest as the German beat Kenny van Hummel, Kittel and Cavendish in the sprint for 5th.


Lars Boom finished safely in the bunch and so yesterday's winner of the queen stage could finally take home the win in one the biggest Dutch stage races after having finished 2nd behind Cavendish last year. Greipel and Cavendish took the minor places on the podium, thus proving that both are ready for the Tour de France.



1. Pim Ligthart 4.04.17

2. Sven Vandousselaere

3. Brian Van Goethem

4. Arno van der Zwet

5. Andre Greipel

6. Kenny Van Hummel

7. Marcel Kittel

8. Mark Cavendish

9. Victor Manakov

10. Yves Lampaert


General classification:

1. Lars Boom 17.23.25

2. Andre Greipel +0.16

3. Mark Cavendish +0.25

4. Michal Golas +0.26

5. Maurits Lammertink +0.32

6. Marcel Kittel +0.35

7. Marcel Sieberg +0.36

8. Thomas Dekker +0.43

9. Jurgen Roelandts +0.47

10. Danilo Wyss +1.06


Points classification:

1. Andre Greipel 36

2. Marcel Kittel 33

3. Lars Boom 32

4. Mark Cavendish 26

5. Theo Bos 23


Mountains classification:

1. Martijn Keizer 45

2. Sebastien Delfosse 18

3. Reinier Honig 13

4. Matteo Trentin 10

5. Adam Hansen 6


Teams classification:

1. Omega Pharma-Quick Step 52.11.51

2. Lotto-Belisol +0.15

3. Argos-Shimano +0.49

4. Garmin-Sharo +2.21

5. Blanco +7.41


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