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“I’m really happy with this result, it’s a surprise. In Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke I already surprised myself, but I hadn’t expected this at all."

Photo: Lotto Soudal








05.04.2015 @ 19:59 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Lotto Soudal set a strong collective performance in the 99th Tour of Flanders. 21-year-old neo-pro Tiesj Benoot made a remarkable debut and crossed the finish line in Oudenaarde as fifth. Jürgen Roelandts claimed the eighth place. Lars Bak was part of an early breakaway and German champion André Greipel didn’t seem to get tired. The German champion was fifteenth today.


A front group of seven with Lars Bak was formed after almost fifty kilometres of racing. This breakaway got up to 6’30” advantage on the bunch, where it was mainly Team Sky that took control. On the Molenberg, the sixth hill of the day, André Greipel attacked. Nobody joined him and before the Paddestraat he was part of the bunch again. On the Kaperij Lars Bak took the lead in front, only Damien Gaudin followed the Dane. Also in the peloton there were attacks on that hill, of Stig Broeckx for example. On the Kanarieberg Greipel attacked again and he and Broeckx got in a chase group. Before the second ascent of the Oude Kwaremont, they were caught. On that climb Belgian champion Jens Debusschere came to the front.



At the top of the Paterberg it was over for Lars Bak, not much Gaudin got reeled in as well. Greipel obviously felt strong because he jumped away before the Koppenberg. On that climb riders came back, also teammates Tiesj Benoot and Jürgen Roelandts. A group of 25 riders rode to the Kruisberg/Hotond together. On that climb Alexander Kristoff and Niki Terpstra attacked. It turned out to be the decisive move. None of the chasers could bridge on the Oude Kwaremont or Paterberg. Also in the last thirteen kilometres to the finish in Oudenaarde Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet, their nearest chasers, couldn’t close the gap. Alexander Kristoff won the 99th edition of the Tour of Flanders. Tiesj Benoot jumped away from the second chase group, which Jürgen Roelandts was part of as well, with three kilometres to go and beat Lars Boom in the battle for the fifth place. Roelandts finished as eighth today.


“In the first part of the race I could hide really well in the bunch. Marcel Sieberg was my guide," Roelandts said. "On the second ascent of the Oude Kwaremont I kept an eye on all movements and I reached the top in the first part of the peloton. After the Koppenberg Lotto Soudal had three riders in the first group.

“On the Kruisberg there was an acceleration of Tiesj. Next it were Kristoff and Terpstra who attacked. I was boxed in at that moment. Afterwards the gap was too big to make the jump on the second part of the climb, on the Hotond. I was afraid I wouldn’t make it if I did. André pulled at the front of the group and also one Sky rider chased. I had hoped also Astana and BMC would help.


“Tiesj and I did well on the third ascent of the Oude Kwaremont. I had a difficult moment on the Paterberg. Sagan and Van Avermaet created a gap there. The differences between the three groups fluctuated. Tiesj and I had agreed to attack or respond to attacks in turn. Eventually Tiesj got away with three kilometres to go.”


“I’m really happy with this result, it’s a surprise. In Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke I already surprised myself, but I hadn’t expected this at all. The team gave me the task to respond to moves of the second-line favourites from the Taaienberg on. I already thought that was ambitious, but I felt really strong. On the Kruisberg I even accelerated. Kristoff and Terpstra attacked afterwards, it was impossible to bridge to them," Benoot said.


“At the end I jumped away and only Lars Boom joined me. He took over and together we rode to the finish where I beat him for the fifth place. This race is a monument and close to my home. Of course I dream about it. That I am fifth at my debut is really special. Next Sunday I’ll start in Paris-Roubaix and then I’ll take some rest. Afterwards the team and I will decide about my race programme for the rest of this season.”



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