Holland’s Van Poppel wins fifth stage in Tour of Missouri


JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri — Boy Van Poppel of the Netherlands earned the first win of his pro career and America’s Christian Vande Velde retained his race lead for the third consecutive day Friday in the fifth stage of the Tour of Missouri. The 20-year-old Van Poppel, son of nine-time Tour de France stage winner Jean-Paul Van Poppel, claimed the 109.2-mile St. James to Jefferson City road race in 3 hours, 48 minutes and 42 seconds. Belgian Michael Van Stayen — Van Poppel’s teammate on the Dutch team Rabobank — finished second and Keven Lacombe (Kelly Benefit) of Canada finished third, both in the same time as the winner. Lacombe is last in the overall standings. Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle) finished 19th in the main pack to retain his 18-second margin over Australia’s Michael Rogers (Team Columbia). Svein Tuft (Symmetrics) of Canada remains third overall, trailing by 48 seconds with two stages of the weeklong race remaining. “I may have gone a little too early,” Van Poppel said of the 300-yard final uphill sprint that concluded three 1.8-mile finishing circuits. “But it’s better to go too early than too late.

I looked around for the other guys, but I didn’t see them and I said, ‘This is my chance; I have to take it.”’ Vande Velde, who finished fifth in this year’s Tour de France, is two days away from his first stage race win since the 2006 Tour of Luxembourg. The second-year race continues Saturday with the 110-mile (177-kilometer) Hermann to St. Charles sixth stage road race and concludes Sunday with a 75-mile (121-kilometer) circuit race in St. Louis.