Stybar keeps Boom at bay
Belga
Like last year, Lars Boom did not win the stage into Vlijmen. Last year, André Greipel and Giacomo Nizzolo proved too strong. This year, Zdenek Stybar was too strong for the home rider. Stybar takes on the overall jersey.
After the opening stage in Terneuzen the peloton headed from Waalwijk to Vlijmen. Vlijmen is the home turf of Lars Boom. Last year, the final overall winner of 2012 tried to win the stage, but he was pipped by André Greipel and Giacomo Nizzolo.

Last year the 28-year-old rider from team Belkin did take the the leader jersey there and he was keen to do so this year. During the first stage Boom already reeled in three bonus seconds, which earned him fifth in the first overall, seven seconds behind leader Andrea Guardini.

From the start the pace in the second stage was very high. Marcus Burghardt, Jens Mouris, Pavel Brutt and Frederik Veuchelen formed the first breakaway of the day, but their effort did not last. Moments later Brutt managed to do so however. He was joined by Kevin Van Melsen and Alexis Gougeard.

As it started to rain heavily, certain cobbles stretches had become very slippery. Home rider Boom felt good in those conditions. In the Tour de France, he also benefited from the tough weather conditions.

In the peloton one rider was troubled by those conditions; Sacha Modolo finished at thirteen minutes yesterday as the very last and could not keep up with the pace today either. Modolo abandoned the race with another 80 km to go. Rüdiger Selig had already abandoned the race.

In the meantime the leaders had gathered a lead of nearly six minutes. But they never got away any further. Still Brutt, Gougeard and Van Melsen managed to maintain their lead for a long time. Going into the last 30 km, the difference was still nearly four minutes.

The peloton then realised they had to up the pace. Tom Dumoulin was one of the riders who suffered; he punctured at the wrong time and was dropped with more than one minute. Eventually, he lost out by 14 seconds only.

At the front Brutt dropped his fellow escapees with only 12 km left. 8 km from the end Omega Pharma-Quick-Step had to revise their battle plan. Matteo Trentin hit the asphalt, along with José Joaquin Rojas. Brutt was still ahead, with 40 seconds. The peloton reeled him in with 5 km from the finish line. At that time the peloton was broken into several groups.

Despite Trentin's crash OPQS still cheered. It was Zdenek Stybar who claimed the victory. The Czech champion jumped from a small leading group in the final meters and outsmarted Boom, Sep Vanmarcke, Marco Marcato and Manuel Quinziato.

Because of the bonus seconds Stybar takes on the leader's jersey from Andrea Guardini. In the overall ranking Stybar, winner of the 2012 Eneco Tour and then two-time stage winner, leads Boom by one second ahead and Vanmarcke by six.