New Zealand’s Jesse Sergent claimed victory in the rain-hit fourth stage of the Eneco Tour on Friday as Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen took over the race lead from Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert.
The 23-year-old Sergent, who rides for RadioShack, finished the 14.7km course 14 seconds ahead of Dane Alex Rasmussen to claim his third win of the season.
Gilbert, who held an overnight lead of 6 seconds over Team Sky’s Boasson Hagen, dropped to second overall 12 seconds back ahead of the penultimate stage over 189km around Genk.
Sergent competed in dry conditions, but the majority of his rivals had to contend with the wind and a slippery road making the Kiwi’s time of 17 minutes, 55 seconds unbeatable.
Boasson Hagen was the best of the later riders, finishing in ninth place about 30 seconds behind the winner, giving him a 12 second lead on Gilbert in the overall standings with Scotland’s David Millar third, 18 seconds behind.
“It was my intention to take the [leader’s] jersey this Friday, but it turned out be more complicated than planned because of the wind and rain,” Boasson Hagen said.
“Twelve seconds lead on Gilbert with two stages to go — I don’t know if it will be enough, but I’ll do all I can to win this Eneco Tour,” the 2009 winner added ahead of the penultimate stage which should favor the sprinters.