Rik defends ENECO lead

Rik Verbrugghe defends his lead in the latest ProTour event, the ENECO Tour. But win or lose, the Qu

Rik Verbrugghe defends his lead in the latest ProTour event, the ENECO Tour. But win or lose, the Qu

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM

Rik Verbrugghe takes a five-second advantage over Allan Davis into today's final time trial stage of the ENECO Tour in Holland. The Quick Step rider, who won the ENECO prologue, finished safely in the pack when stage six ended in a bunch sprint won by MrBookmaker.com's Stefan van Dijk.

Van Dijk denied Discovery Channel's Max van Heeswijk a hat-trick of ENECO stage wins when he surged past Tom Steels in the final straight at Hoogstraten, leaving Van Heeswijk in second place, with Simone Cadamuro third.

Today's time trial at Etten-Leur is 26.3km, well beyond the kind of short distance effort in which Verbrugghe specialises. The biggest threats to his lead appear to be the Dekkers, Erik and Thomas, Discovery's Jurgen van den Broeck and Bobby Julich, who is currently 12th overall but is only 37 seconds down on the leader. Danish time trial champion Michael Blaudzun cannot be discounted either.

Verbrugghe will be looking over the time trial course on Wednesday morning, but says that whatever happens in the final stage he will leave the ENECO happy with his performance. "I've shown all week that I've returned to my top level. It would be better still if I could win but I am satisfied with my performance," he told La Dernire Heure. "In any case, the season is not yet over and I want to show myself at San Sebastian on Saturday, because that's a race that suits me." Verbrugghe finished eighth there last year and was second in 1999.

Stage 6, Sint Truiden-Hoogstraten

1 Stefan van Dijk (Hol) MrBookmaker.com-Sportstech 196km in 4.10.37
2 Max van Heeswijk (Hol) Discovery Channel
3 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) Domina Vacanze
4 Tom Steels (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto
5 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi
6 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile
7 Steven de Jongh (Hol) Rabobank
8 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Caffita
9 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros
10 Andr Korff (Ger) T-Mobile

Overall

1 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic 28.36.10
2 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros 0.05
3 Erik Dekker (Hol) Rabobank 0.13
4 Michael Blaudzun (Den) CSC 0.15
5 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Liberty Seguros 0.17
6 Jurgen van den Broeck (Bel) Discovery Channel 0.19
7 Andreas Klier (Ger) T-Mobile 0.21
8 Thomas Dekker (Hol) Rabobank 0.26
9 Sergei Ivanov (Rus) T-Mobile 0.37
10 Pieter Mertens (Bel) Chocolade Jacques
11 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Caffita
12 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC

- Tour de France Best Young Rider Yaroslav Popovych married his girlfriend Cindy yesterday at a small ceremony for just a few friends at Poggio a Caiano, near Florence.

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