French rider Arnaud Demare won the second stage of the Eneco Tour on Tuesday in a sprint finish in Vorst, on the outskirts of the Belgian capital Brussels. Demare, a former world junior champion riding for the FDJ team, edged ahead of world road race champion Philippe Gilbert of Belgium and American Tyler Farrar at the end of the 176.9km stage from Ardooie. The trio were part of a group of 11 riders, including Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi, credited with the same time of 4hr 3min 34sec, who crossed the line five seconds ahead of the main pack.
Demare took the overall leader’s jersey from Australia’s Mark Renshaw, who suffered a puncture in the final kilometer and is now 3sec behind Demare in the general standings, with Gilbert a further second adrift. Last year’s Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, the star turn in this year’s Eneco Tour, finished well down the field, 1:22 behind the leaders, and already finds himself lying 147th out of 164 riders, more than five minutes adrift of Demare.
Wednesday’s third stage takes place entirely within the Netherlands, covering the 187.3km from Oosterhout to Brouwersdam.