Lastras makes Movistar Team dream of of exploit, comes 3km short for win in Geraardsbergen at 'mini Flanders' stage of Eneco Tour. Fine performance by Jasha Sütterlin
“It’s him, just him, who decides when, how and where.” Luis Pasamontes, former member of the Movistar Team and good friend of Pablo Lastras, put the feeling into words as the telephone squad’s road captain excelled on stage five of the Eneco Tour -162km in and around Geraardsbergen, with a final circuit featuring some of the sections of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Kapelmuur and Bosberg included-. It was the feeling of aspiring to a victory that honoured his strength and courage, after deciding himself not to make part of the Vuelta a España roster.
After an opening 50 kilometers full of attacks, Lastras made it into a four-man group including Debusschere (LTB), Rovny (TCS) and Trentin (OPQ), his companion in a late phase where the Italian tried to drop the Spaniard into the penultimate ascent of the Mur de Grammont. Back together with less than twenty kilometers from the end, and having a gap over one minute and a half, Penkas’ consistency kept the pace high, with short, continuous attacks that made Trentin nervous and forced him to collaborate, the gap up to 50″ with just 8k left.
The final push by the main favourites -with Boom (BEL) and eventual winner Van Avermaet (BMC) especially active- ruined the chances of the veteran Blue riders with just 3km to go. Without him, Jasha Sütterlin, helped out by the whole group and solid until the final slope into Geraardsbergen, was the top Movistar performer, just 20″ behind the leaders. The German stays in 20th spot of a GC to be cleared out in the two days remaining. Saturday’s stage six –Heerlen to Aywaille, 173.9km- will see the riders climb La Redoute, as well as the côtes of Fraiture, Chambralles and Niaster into another final circuit.