He was runner-up to Peter Sagan on Wednesday, but on Thursday, Trek-Segafredo’s Belgian Edward Theuns took his first victory of the season at the BinckBank Tour in a soggy bunch sprint. Stefan Küng (Switzerland/BMC) retained his green leader’s jersey.

It was the last sprinter’s stage before the three mini-Classics to end the race. The riders faced 160-km starting and finishing in Lanaken, with two long circuits followed by two shorter loops. Rain pelted the peloton.

There were several failed breakaways–even from race leader Küng–and a few crashes, but nobody was able to escape until the first intermediate sprint. Laurens De Vreese (Belgium/Astana) may have taken the maximum points, but it was Andre Greipel dashing away with Dutch rider Pim Ligthart (Roompot) at this point. Soon the duo was a trio, pulling out a 2:30 gap by the mid-point of the race. After the two big circuits, two 27.5-km laps remained.

Sky and Bora shared the work in the peloton. The day’s Golden Kilometre came with 34-km to go. No one except Ligthart was interested in the three sprints and bonus seconds.

At the bell, the trio only held a 9-second gap and were brought to heel with 26-km remaining, plenty of time for new attacks

The pace was too high for sprinter Arnaud Démare and several others as Bora and BMC whipped the field along.

Alex Dowsett (Great Britain/Sky) and Dion Smith (New Zealand/Wanty-Groupe Gobert) attacked inside the last 13-km, Dowsett the first over the day’s final intermediate sprint. It all came back together with 4-km before Belgian time trial champion Yves Lampaert (Quick Step) tried his luck.

Lampaert would be crestfallen to be lassoed with only 150-metres to go. Theuns powered by his compatriot and then held off Marko Kump for the famous triumph.

Friday is a mini-Amstel Gold Race, with plenty of little hills to climb.

2017 BinckBank Tour Stage 4
1) Edward Theuns (Belgium/Trek-Segafredo)
2) Marko Kump (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates)
3) Tim Merlier (Belgium/Vérandas Willems-Crelan)

2017 BinckBank Tour GC
1) Stefan Küng (Switzerland/BMC) 8:15:08
2) Maciej Bodnar (Poland/Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:04
3) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) +0:05


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