Danny van Poppel (Trek Factory Racing) took out the final stage of the 3 Days of West Flanders from a bunch sprint. Kris Boeckmans (Lotto-Soudal) and Michael Van Staeyen (Cofidis) completed the stage podium. Yves Lampaert (Etixx-QuickStep) secured the overall race victory.
The early part of the stage saw 7 riders jump clear of the peloton and forge out a 4 minute lead on the peloton. With a challenging final circuit though, Team Katusha and Etixx-QuickStep really ramped up the pace in the hope of splitting things up over the circuit cobble sectors and hellingens. With 40km to go, 17 riders rode across a small gap to join the initial break. 4 Etixx riders were represented at the front and this looked like a dangerous move.
The chase from the peloton, which included the Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders, was organised and persistent and with 25km to go the big break was caught. Over the final 11.5km circuit the pace was relentless heading toward the final cobble sector. Coming out the other side, only 50 riders were left in contention for the final bunch sprint.
Unfortuately, despite a hard fighting race Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were not able to come away with a notable result from the weekends racing. Attention now turns to the multiple upcoming races in Italy for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung like the Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan Sanremo and the Coppi Bartali.
"Today was rather disappointing and not the results we were hoping for. Only Jaco [Venter] was able to stay in the front group today. We were just too far back at key moments. We can only look ahead to our next appointments now where we look to improve on our performances," sports director Jean-Pierre Heynderickx said.
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42 years | today
|Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE|
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