Jesse Sergent put up a great ride in the individual time trial for Eneco Tour’s stage 5 on Friday, taking third place for his big effort.
Jesse, 25, previous winner of the time trial in the 2011 Eneco Tour, was followed in the car by director Luc Meersman. Team Direcotr Dirk Demol commented: “Jesse did great. He obtained the maximum result and he gave everything. He was extremely motivated after having a year that was a bit less than expected. In the meantime he knows he can stay with the team for 2014 so he was extremely focused today. It was a nice performance. When he won here two years ago, it was on a totally different course. This year the roster of riders in Eneco is the best ever for sprinters, TT specialists and GC riders.”
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was the 14th rider out of the start house and quickly set the best time at 16:13on the short 13.2km course from Sittard to Geleen. His time held strong until Sergent put up a stellar ride at 16:08, knocking Wiggins out of the hot seat by a five second gain. Sergent’s time became the one to beat. Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma QuickStep) attacked the course to go four seconds better, with Tom Dumoulin (Argos Shimano) later able to slip in between them to squeeze in to second place on the same time as Sergent.
Demol continued: “Our GC riders Bob, Max and Jan did well and didn’t lose much time. For Bob the course was a bit short. But all three are on a top level and ready for the weekend. We will go for it. Tomorrow we climb La Redoute three times with the finish on top. On Sunday it’s the longest stage at 208k with twice on the Muur and twice up Bosberg. It’s a mini Tour of Flanders. The real race starts tomorrow and we are still in the game.” RSLT’s Jan Bakelants is the best placed team rider in 17th at 37-seconds. Sergent is one second further back.
Lars Boom (Belkin) did enough to keep his race lead, now holding 4 seconds to Chavanel. Saturday’s stage is familiar to those who ride in the spring classics with routes used in the Tour of Flanders and Liège–Bastogne–Liège part of the course. Stage 6 is 150km beginning in Riemst and ending on the climb of La Redoute, giving challengers plenty of opportunities to try to knock Boom off the top step of the podium.