Czech rider Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma) won the fourth stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk on Monday after a late escape during the undulating finale to the 183.3km race. Frenchman Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) did enough to hold on to the race leader's pink jersey. Engoulvent will take a 43sec lead over Stybar into the fifth and final stage of the race on Tuesday, held over 176.1 km between Bethune and Dunkirk.
RESULTS: The penultimate stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk race, held over 183.3km:
1. Zdenek Stybar (CZE) Omega Pharma 4hr 38min 27sec, 2. Carlos Betancour (COL/Acqua et Sapone) at 10sec, 3. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/Europcar) 15, 4. Martin Elmiger (SUI/AG2R La Mondiale) s.t., 5. Laurent Pichon (FRA/Bretagne Schuller) s.t., 6. Pierrick Fedrigo (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 7. Jerome Pineau (FRA/Omega Pharma) s.t., 8. Rob Ruijgh (NED/Vacansoleil) s.t., 9. John Degenkolb (GER/Argos-Shimano) s.t., 10. Davy Commeyne (BEL/Landbouwkrediet) s.t.
1. Jimmy Engoulvent (FRA/Saur-Sojasun) 17hr 09min 09sec, 2. Zdenek Stybar (CZE/Omega Pharma) at 43sec, 3. John Degenkolb (GER/Argos-Shimano) 51, 4. Carlos Betancour (COL/Acqua et Sapone) 1:03, 5. Pierrick Fédrigo (FRA/FdJ-Big Mat) 1:06, 6. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/Europcar) 1:07, 7. Jerome Pineau (FRA/Omega Pharma-quick Step) 1:18, 8. Rob Ruijgh (NED/Vacansoleil) 1:27, 9. Martin Elmiger (SUI/AG2R La Mondiale) s.t., 10. Laurent Pichon (FRA/Bretagne Schuller) s.t.
NOW FOR THE TEAM REPORT....
Stybar, just four races into his road season for Omega Pharma -
Quick-Step Cycling Team, won solo on Monday at 4 Jours de Dunkerque,
Stage 4. He attacked with just kilometers to go, and gapped all chasers
on a cobbled climb with 2km remaining.
"I am super happy about
this victory," Stybar said. "It was not an easy stage, but this morning I
really focused to try to do something good. It is super for me, but
really the most important win for me too. I proved I can win also on the
road. A lot of people said it wasn't possible, and now I showed it was
possible. When I chose to ride on the road bike I only listened to my
heart and it was the right thing to do. Now I am really, really happy.
When I crossed the finish line I couldn't believe I won the race. I was
thinking maybe someone was in front of me. I had to ask if I won or not
but when I realized I won, I was over the moon. It was one of best
moments in my life."
Niki Terpstra was the first aggressor for
the team, getting into a break when the race entered the circuit portion
of the course.
Terpstra was eventually caught, but the team was
just getting started. Stybar and Jerome Pineau, who were 2nd and 3rd in
Stage 1, have been active all four stages. Monday, Stybar and Pineau
animated a chase group that was once as small as three — including
Thomas Voeckler — and as large as about 10 to 12 riders within the final
5km. Stybar and Pineau consistently attacked, or chased attacks,
showing their strength. Stybar first attacked with 17km remaining, as
Damien Gaudin (Team Europcar) was up the road. Voeckler and Pineau
quickly jumped on Stybar's wheel, and while teams battled back to the
three, Pineau dropped back a bit while Voeckler and Stybar continued on.
team worked really good today," Sports Director Tom Steels said. "They
were aggressive since the beginning of the race try to put always at
least one rider in a breakaway, so we were always present. The team was
always under control."
A small group of about 10 riders formed
while Gaudin was caught and passed. A chase group of several other
riders bridged to the Stybar, Pineau, and Voeckler group with 8km
remaining. Davy Commeyne (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) and Laurent Pichon
(Bretagne-Schuller) decided to try and escape, but with less than 3km
remaining, those two were caught by Stybar and several others. Stybar
saw his chances to attack, and rode away seated for the victory.
went with Pineau, and we tried to do the race harder in the last 20 to
22km," Stybar said. "At the end, something like 3km to go, I decided to
go alone and just played everything or nothing. I did everything to try
to keep the speed high until the end. When I looked behind me near the
end I looked behind me and saw I was alone, so I also accelerated to
Current overall leader Jimmy Engoulvent
(Saur-Sojasun) initially missed the key move that decided the race, but
worked his way back in the final kilometers. Stybar trails Engoulvent by
43" in the GC after the stage.
"The problem, yesterday
Engoulvent won with a big gap," Steels said. "So normally there is not a
lot of room to try and do something because of the time gap, and
because the stage is flat, it not so difficult tomorrow. But, we can
maybe see what is happening with the weather forecast. If we will have a
crosswind we will try to do something. We are an aggressive team. We
always try to do something, to make the effort to try and then we will
see. We don't want to have regrets."
This is the 32nd win for Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team so far this year, in three disciplines.
also really nice I could win a race a year after my debut on the road
of Dunkerque," Stybar said. "A year after I am here to fight and won a
stage. This is really fantastic. I want to devote this victory to the
team that did a great job, and also Pineau as in the final, we played
well with the tactics. It was important for me to have him in the final.
But also this victory in general, I will devote to the team who
believed in me two years ago when I became a professional on the road,
and my family that was always behind me. I will do my best tomorrow, but
I also want to relax and enjoy this victory because for me, this is a
Photo: Max Rosereau