It was fitting that a Dutch rider won Friday’s fifth stage of the BinckBank Tour, a miniature version of the Amstel Gold race, Lars Boom (LottoNL-Jumbo) triumphing with a late surge after a flurry of attacks in the day’s final third. It was Boom’s first win in two seasons and his first since transferring from Astana. He pulls on the leader’s green jersey.

The Course
The riders faced 18 hills over 167-km, including the famed Cauberg, which was too early in the day to be decisive.

The big action would come in the two finishing circuits of 38.8-km, each with five climbs, four of which were 10-km apart. In the final circuit, the Golden Kilometre came after the Schatsberg climb, where attacks were surely be launched. The last climb, Watersley, peaked with 6-km to go before the finish in Sittard-Geleen.

The Breakaway and Küng’s Challenge
An escape of eight didn’t get far, but a septet containing repeat fugitives Piet Allegaert (Belgium/Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Dutchman Elmar Reinders (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) broke free. With 80-km to go the gap was 4:30, Bora-Hansgrohe leading the peloton.

The field started to get more animated, but a few crashes disrupted its pursuit. First Cannondale and then BMC controlled the front, reducing the lead to 2:00 with 50-km remaining, the pace splitting the bunch. Up ahead, Allegaert nabbed the first intermediate sprint. An injection of pace from Sunweb made the peloton even smaller, with race leader Stefan Küng (BMC) missing out due to a flat tire.

The breakaway entered the final lap with a gap of one minute. Andre Greipel, who admitted recently that he has lost his sprinting instinct, drove the pace for Lotto-Soudal teammate Tim Wellens. Only two fugitives were left up front.

With his teammates and Katusha helping, Küng’s group made it back to Greipel’s bunch. The escapees still away, Czech Petr Vakoc (Quick Step) rolled up nine bonus seconds in the Golden Kilometre. Wellens attacked with two others to scrap for the remaining seconds. Wellens and company joined the duo up front.

Another climb created a small, elite chase group containing Boom, Peter Sagan and Tom Dumoulin. This platoon caught the men in front of it. Sagan attacked with 7-km to go and only a handful of riders were able to go with him.

With the climbing behind them, Jasper Stuyven (Belgium/Trek-Segafredo) and Jan Bakelants (Belgium/AG2R) dashed away from the leading group, but Sagan laboured to bring them back. Boom’s big dig came inside 500-metres to go. No one could match him and he had time to celebrate.

Sagan was second and Greg Van Avermaet third.

Saturday’s stage is a mini-Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

2017 BinckBank Tour Stage 5

1) Lars Boom (The Netherlands/LottoNL-Jumbo) 3:43:46
2) Peter Sagan (Slovakia/Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:03
3) Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium/BMC) s.t.

2017 BinckBank Tour GC
1) Lars Boom (The Netherlands/LottoNL-Jumbo) 15:23:17
2) Peter Sagan (Slovakia/Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:02
3) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) +0:08


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