Eneco Tour 2014 – Stage 4 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Eneco Tour 2014 – Stage 4 Preview

By David Hunter

Stage 3 Review

What a day for Tom Dumolulin. Resplendent, in his Dutch National TT jersey, the Giant-Shimano rider managed to beat the brilliant time set by Fabian Cancellara. The Swiss rider had posted an amazing time, and it looked like he would win but Tom fought to the end. The Dutchman took the stage by 2 seconds. The GC shakedown resulted in the following results:-

1. Boom

2. Dumoulin 4 secs

3. Quinziato 4 secs

4. Grivko 7 secs

5. Stybar 12 secs

6. Thomas 14 secs

7. Terpstra 18 secs

8. Koren 19 secs

9. Vanmarcke 21 secs

10. Gilbert 21 secs

11. Keukeleire 23 secs

12. Cancellara 24 secs

Belkin have 2, as do BMC and OPQS. Having multiple riders is a massive positive in this race.

Stage 4 Koksidje – Ardooie 179.1km


This is the last chance for the sprinters to grab some glory, before the hell begins. Given their efforts in the first two stages, nobody should have any confidence they will deliver.

To make things more exciting we have bonus seconds available, near the end of the stage. There are two bonus sprints inside the final 25km, with the final one just 7km from the end of the stage. This will allow OPQS, Belkin and BMC to play their usual trick! You attack at the sprint point and the peloton think, they’re just going for the seconds and then boom! You attack, full-on, and don’t stop. Terpstra tried this tactic with Van Keirsbulck in 3 days of De Panne, but it failed near the end of the stage. With just 7km remaining, there is every chance a strong group escapes and doesn’t come back.

If that doesn’t happen, the finish is technical.


Just before the flame rouge, we have 3 corners. The first one is tight, but the next two is taken like a chicane. Last year, Belkin dominated the final 3km and let Renshaw escape in these corners. In the confusion, a chase wasn’t organised and Renshaw won the stage.

Belkin have been very active in the “sprint” stages and will try something again. As they pulled of the lone attack, last year, all the other teams will be watching for this, so they need to change tactic. Can they pull off a surprise again?

This is the last chance for the sprinters, so the peloton will expect Lotto and FDJ to work. Stage 2 was very strange as Lotto did no work, in the peloton. They are not usually work shy, so I was left confused by their tactics. Their cooperation is crucial, if we’re to get a sprint, as FDJ can’t do all the work themselves.

The weather forecast is not good, with rain expected and some more wind, although not as strong as in the opening stages. That means it won’t be to the suiting of Andre Greipel, who seems to be allergic to rain these days. Saying that, apart from the 3 quick corners, it isn’t overly technical.

Nacer Bouhanni does not look in the best of form either and is really missing his “pilot”, Geoffrey Soupe, who is lacking miles in the legs. Can either of the two top sprinters sort themselves out?

Prediction time…

Watch for the attack at the bonus sprint, with 7km to go. If a strong group of GC riders escape, they won’t come back. I can’t see Stybar, Boom or Gilbert missing out on the opportunity. I have been impressed with the form of Marco Marcato, in the opening stages. At last, the Italian seems back to his best. I’ll take a long shot and say Marcato to escape and take the win. I have no confidence in the sprinters or their teams.

David Hunter

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