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The stage got off to another blustery start with echelons forming inside the first kilometer. Etixx-Quickstep had attempted to gap Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo) who was caught out in the 2nd echelon on the road. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung also had all its riders present in that 2nd group though and so our African team along with Tinkoff-Saxo, brought the 2 groups back together after 60km's of racing.

With the general regrouping, 3 riders then took off in pursuit of victory. Matthew Hayman (Orica-Greenedge) formed part of this escape, the Australian was a threat to Niki Terpstra's (Etixx-Quickstep) overall lead, resulting in a high pressure chase. Unfortunately there were a number of crashes in the highly stressed peloton and our Theo Bos was one of the casualties. Theo was unable to continue and had to abandon the race.

As the race reached the final 30km's the wind had subsided somewhat and the peloton was able to reel in the 3 lead riders. With Bos not in contention for the bunch sprint, Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were looking to deliver Edvald Boasson Hagen to a good position for the sprint but a late split in the final 5km sent all the riders into panic mode. Eventually a reduced group of riders, including Edvald made it to the line together.

"It was a bad day for us today and we are not happy with the result. Unluckily Theo Bos was involved in a crash just before the first sprint of the day. He hit the deck hard and had to be taken off to hospital. Hopefully there is nothing broken but we should hear from the doctors soon. In the end, today's really tough stage came down to the last 5km where a small group split from the front of the race. Race leader Terpstra missed the front split of 10 riders and was in the 2nd chase group of 13 riders which also included Edvald. Katusha were driving really hard at the front but in the final kilometre the Edvald and Terpstra's group just made contact." J.P Heynderickx - Sports Director