Farrar takes Ster stage win
Gretsch maintains race lead
Last Updated: 16/06/11 4:02pm
Farrar: Refound his form after a difficult few months to take a convincing win in Holland
Tyler Farrar sprinted to victory on stage one of the Ster ZLM Toer on the streets of Geleen.
The Garmin-Cervelo rider held off competition from Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil) and Adam Blythe (Omega Pharma-Lotto) to win by a clear distance on the line.
Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) enlivened the finish and showed he is still in top form as he crested the categorised Slingerberg climb and promptly attacked the bunch.
A small group of six men had moved clear in the closing stages but were swept up along with Gilbert with two kilometres remaining.
The bunch sprint played into the hands of overnight leader Patrick Gretsch (HTC-Highroad) with the young German finishing safely in the bunch to maintain the leader’s jersey.
Riders were forced to wrap up against the elements as storms and heavy rain marked the start of the day in a flooded Eindhoven market square.
A five man group escaped in the early stages on soaking wet roads with conditions failing to dampen the pace.
Work from HTC-Highroad helped peg the group at around the three minute mark as the team looked to set up a bunch kick.
As the escapees approached the finish line for the first time ahead of the finishing circuit Ronan Van Zandbeek (Skil-Shimano) attacked his counterparts and was quickly followed by Anthony Roux (FDJ).
Not wanting to be caught by the bunch Roux again stuck out on his own in a short-lived move on the outskirts of Geleen.
A strung out peloton en route to the finish but did not stop a number of men trying their luck off the front of the peloton but to no avail as the sprinters prospered and Farrar took a convincing victory.