No more Remco Evenepoel in the Benelux Tour . Our compatriot did not start in the fifth stage after persistent stomach problems. Mitchell Docker also gave up before the start in Riemst with an elbow fracture after a fall yesterday.
The two were therefore no longer there when the peloton tackled the 15 hills in the Limburg hinterland. With Houle, Bauer and Casper Pedersen, three sturdy baroudeurs rode ahead. In the peloton, Alpecin-Fenix tried to keep control.
Did Tim Merlier believe in his chances? With Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan there were still some sprinters who could cross a hill. Along the way, Edward Theuns and Victor Campenaerts shook the tree for the first time, without success.
After Houle dropped out, Bauer and Pedersen showed themselves to be two tough devils. In a nervous and hard final they sang it out to about ten kilometers from the finish. Asgreen then tried, but the Dane had to set foot on the ground due to material problems.
Meanwhile, leader Stefan Bissegger had to drop out of the pack, while fast men like Merlier, Viviani, Ewan and Sagan were able to survive remarkably. Late strikes by Moscon and Mohoric were then canceled out. It was a sprint with a thinned out peloton.
Bahrain-Victorious rolled out the red carpet for Colbrelli, while Merlier had to close a gap and helped his sprint to damnation. Colbrelli seemed to be racing for the win, but Ewan got on it and over it. Danny van Poppel was third. Jasper Stuyven became the first Belgian in fifth place.