Le Bon battles through rain for breakaway Eneco win

Johan Le Bon breaks away early, battles through rain and attacks in the finale to win stage 5, his first-career WorldTour victory.

Photo: TDW

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Heroics won the day in stage 5 of the Eneco Tour as Johan Le Bon (FDJ) escaped early with Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Garmin) then dropped his companion in the final kilometers of rainy racing to win. Le Bon took risks on the twisting streets of Sittard, Netherlands before the finish on Friday. Van Baarle kept him in sight and looked to be closing in the last kilometer, but he could not come close enough to contend for the victory.

Behind, a chase group of five riders served to reshuffle the GC as Wilco Kelderman took the overall lead from his LottoNL-Jumbo teammate, Jos van Emden. “It was a successful day,” Kelderman said. “I’m pleased that the leader’s jersey remained within the team. I’m in white now, which is a nice boost.”

Top 10, stage 5

  • 1. Johan LE BON, FDJ, in 4:13:50
  • 3. Magnus Cort NIELSEN, ORICA – AIS, at :09
  • 4. Tim WELLENS, LOTTO SOUDAL, at :09
  • 5. Wilco KELDERMAN, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at :09
  • 6. André GREIPEL, LOTTO SOUDAL, at :11
  • 7. Georg PREIDLER, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at :15
  • 8. Tiesj BENOOT, LOTTO SOUDAL, at :27
  • 9. Philippe GILBERT, BMC RACING TEAM, at :27
  • 10. Lars BOOM, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :27

Top-10 overall

  • 1. Wilco KELDERMAN, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, in 16:44:13
  • 3. Johan LE BON, FDJ, at :08
  • 4. Jos VAN EMDEN, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at :13
  • 5. Tim WELLENS, LOTTO SOUDAL, at :19
  • 6. Lars BOOM, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at :20
  • 8. Manuel QUINZIATO, BMC RACING TEAM, at :29
  • 9. Philippe GILBERT, BMC RACING TEAM, at :29
  • 10. Michael ROGERS, TINKOFF – SAXO, at :34

With about one-third of the 179.6km stage ridden, van Baarle and Le Bon broke away. They pushed their lead to over four minutes at one point. As the rain poured down, the duo had a 2:14 lead into the final lap of racing around Sittard. With 15km to go, the gap was down to 1:19.

Inside of the final 10km, André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) went on the attack, bringing his teammate Tim Wellens along in a group of five trying to bridge the gap, which was just under a minute. With three kilometers to go, the break was less than 30 seconds ahead.

Le Bon attacked his breakaway companion just outside of the final two kilometers as the road wended its way through the finish town. The chase had the two leaders in sight as they passed the red kite.

Van Baarle clawed his way back up to within striking distance of Le Bon in the final kilometer, but he couldn’t close the small gap in the final few hundred meters and neither could the chase group. It was 24-year-old Le Bon’s first-career WorldTour victory.

Stage 6 will be a hilly, 198km race from Heerlen to Houffalize on Saturday.

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