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After yesterday’s defeat, Gaviria finished off an excellent lead-out from Etixx-QuickStep to take a dominant win at Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem; Dupont took second and Richeze made it two Etixx riders on the podium











17.09.2016 @ 17:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

One day after his defeat at the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen, Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep) got his revenge as he beat his nemesis Timothy Dupont (Veranda’s Willems) in the bunch sprint at the Prius Classic Impanis-Van Petegem. After an excellent lead-out from Etixx-QuickStep, he barely had to sprint to take the win and easily held Dupont off. Lead-out man Maximilano Richeze even held on to make it two riders from the team on the podium.


When he won his first ever WorldTour sprint at Tirreno-Adriatico in March, Fernando Gaviria fully confirmed what most already knew: that the Colombian will be a dominant figure in the bunch sprints in the next few years. A few weeks later, a heartbreaking crash on the finishing straight may even have prevented him from winning Milan-Sanremo in his first attempt.


A combination of an injury and a focus on the track and the Rio Olympics meant that Gaviria disappeared a bit from the radar and he only briefly returned to the spotlight by picking up a win at the Tour de Pologne in July. However, after a disappointing performance in Rio, the Colombian is now back on the road and he has his eyes fully turned toward Qatar and a chance to go for a maiden Worlds title in his neo-pro season.


Gaviria made his return to racing at Wednesday’s GP de Wallonie and showed excellent form in yesterday’s Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen where he rode very aggressively and was in almost every attack. When Marcel Kittel abandoned the race, he suddenly took over sprinting duties too but he paid for his hard work as he was beaten by Timothy Dupont in the sprint.


Today there was no Kittel in the line-up for Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem and so Gaviria was the clear leader of Etixx-QuickStep. With a dominant performance from his team, he got his revenge as he beat Dupont in a hotly contested bunch sprint after a great lead-out that saw lead-out man Maximilano Richeze take third.


Despite being the protected sprinter, Gaviria didn’t focus fully on the bunch kick as he was part of a strong 10-rider group with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) that went clear with around 30km to go. The move stayed clear until only 9km remained but he still had enough left in the tank to win the bunch sprint.


The 19th edition of Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem was on a 200.4km course between Brakel and Haacht. It was a typical Flemish semi-classic with 15 hellingen spread throughout the course as the peloton traversed the Flemish Ardennes. The first challenge was the Tenbosse already after 2.7km and from there, the climbs came in quick succession. The final three climbs, Holsteheide with 38.2km to go, Smeysberg with 34.4 km to go and Everbergsesteenweg just 22.4km from the line, were the last chance to make a difference and from there it was a flat run to the finish where there were two sharp turns in the final 3km. The final left-hand turn came around 800m from the line.


A sick Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) was the only non-starter when the field gathered for the start in Brakel. As is always the case in the Flemish races, it was a very fast opening phase with numerous attacks. That made it very difficult for anyone to escape and after 25km of racing, everything was still together.


Finally, Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen), Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty), Julien Mortier (Color Code), Benjamin Giraud (Delko), Tom Dernies (Wallonie) and Timothy Stevens (Crelan).managed to get clear – first a quartet wa sextalished and then two riders bridged across – and after 68km of racing they had an advantage of 3.30. However, the peloton didn’t give them much leeway and so the gap was still only 3.00 at the 90km mark.


Ivan Cortina (Etixx-QuickStep), TaylorEisenhartPeter Velits (BMC) controlled things in the peloton and made sure that the gap stayed around 2.30 as they hit the final 80km. Here the fight for positions slowly started and while Marco Haller (Katusha) and Brent Bookwalter (BMC) spent energy to rejoin the peloton after a puncture, the leaders positioned themselves near the front.


As they hit a climb with 70km to go, riders started to get dropped from the peloton as Eisenhart and Velits upped the pace, bringing the gap down to 1.35 during the next 10km. At the same time, the fight for position created chaos and Dennis Coenen, David Boucher (Crelan) and Olivier Chevalier (Wallonie) were all involved in crashes.


Etixx-QuickStep and BMC shared the pace-setting until they approached the 10th climb where Orica-Bike Exchange came to the fore with Ruben Plaza and Lotto Soudal hit the front with Sean De Bie. The latter led the bunch onto the cobbled 10th climb where the attacking started.


BMC wanted a hard race and so sent Marcus Burghardt off in a strong attack. While he powered up the climb, Giraud was dropped from the front group which was down to five riders with an advantage of less than a minute.


Burghardt never got much of an advantage and he was brought back by Etixx-QuickStep as they went down the descent. Adrien Costa did the work for the Belgian team before BMC again increased the speed with Burghardt. More riders were getting dropped, including Wanty sprinter Kenny Dehaes. Meanwhile, Stevens was briefly dropped from the break but he managed to rejoin the group.


The attacking started again when Johnny Hoogerland (Roompot) gave it a shot. Floris Gerts (BMC), Dimitri Claeys (Wanty), Adiren Petit and Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) were also active but no one could get clear. Instead, Etixx-QuickStep again took control with Costa who led the group into the final 50m with a deficit of on minute.


As they hit the next climb, a Roth rider launched a strong attack but Gerts quickly shut it down for BMC and while defending champion De Bie and Roompot sprinter Andre Looij were left behind, Voeckler took ove the pace-setting. Bookwalter then took over for BMC before the attacking started again.


Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) have it a solid short with 45km to go but Nic Schultz brought him back for Orica-BikeEschange. Julien Vermote then took control for Etix-QuickStep that were working hard to get a bunch sprint.


With 40km to go, the gap was only 35 seconds and BMC again gathered their troops on the front, with Burghardt and Michael Schär setting the pace. As they hit the next climb, the German went full gas and created a selection, with Schär and Greg Van Avermaet sitting just behind him.


As they went up the climb, Van Hecke dropped his companions and he reached the top as the lone leader. While he tried to hold onto his 20-second advantage, Frederik Backaert (Wanty), Schär and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Etixx-QuickStep) attacked but they were quickly brought back.


With 36km to go, only Van Hecke was still in front and it was now Wallays setting the pace for Lotto Soudal. Jasper De Buyst took over and kept the gap at around 10 seconds before they hit the penultimate climb, Smeysberg.


As soon as they hit the climb, Tosh van der Sande (Lottto Soudal) launched a strong attack and he sprinted past the fading Van Hecke. Van Avermaet, Backaert and Vegard Breen (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) joined the Belgian and the front quartet reached the top with a small advantage over a four-rider chase group.


The four chasers made it across and then a group of six riders also made the junction. Hence a 14-rider group with the likes of Wallays, Claeys, Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumo), Jerome Baugnies (Wanty), Marco Haller (BMC), Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep) and Robetr Power (Orica-BikeExchange) had gathered with an advantage of 20 seconds.


Veranda’s Willems started to chase and ONE and Orica-Bike Exchange also came to the fore but Direct Energie could do nothing as they had to wait for Bryan Coquard who suffered a puncture. However, the gap was coming down as there was no cooperation in the front group.


Wallays launched a strong attack and was joined by Haller, Claeys and Baugnies. Gaviria, Breen, Van Avermaet, van der Sande and Kevin Ista (Wallonie) also made it across. The new group worked much better together and they managed to increase their advantage to 25 seconds.


Orica-BikeExcange gathered almost the entire team on the front and together with ONE, they chased hard. Slowly, Veranda’s Willems also returned and Topsport also lent a hand.


At the bottom of the final climb, the gap was 20 seconds and here Vemote tried to bridge across. Magnus Cort (Orica-BikeExchange) countered and he reached the top with a big advantage.


The Dane dug very deep to make the junction and with 19km to go, he joined the leaders. The 10 leaders worked well together but as LottoNL-Jumbo, Direct Energie and Topsport were chasing hard, the gap was coming down. With 15km to go, it was only 15 seconds.


LottoNL-Jumbo used almost their entire team for the chase and the effort paid off as they managed to bring the break back with 9km to go. The pace briefly went down and this opened the door for Wallays and Antoine Warnier (Wallonie) to give it a try. They got a 5-second advantage but as Fortuneo started to chase, they didn’t get far and with 6km to go, Warnier was the final rider to get caught.


Fortuneo stayed on the front until Wallonie took over as they hit the final 5km. Fortuneo returned to the front and with 4km to go, they had lined out four riders on the front, with Dan McLay sitting at the back of the train.


Stijn Vanndebergh briefly hit the front for Etixx-QuickStep before Fortuneo again took charge with three riders. They stayed there until a Wanty rider attacked with 2km to go. He got  small advantage and was the first rider under the flamme rouge.


Van Avermaet and Eugert Zhupa (Wilier) launched a strong attack and they sprinted past the fading Wanty rider. However, they never got a real advantage and after Zhupa had led the group through the final tur, Etixx-QuickStep took control.


The Belgian team lined out four riders on the front and did everything perfectly to set Gaviria up for the sprint. Richeze was the final rider in the train and delivered the Colombian on the front. Timothy Dupont could do nothing more than staying on his wheel to take second while Richeze even held on to make it two Etixx-QuickStep riders on the podium.


With the Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem done and dusted, the attention turns to the final WorldTour race in Belgium, the Eneco Tour, which starts on Monday in the Dutch city of Bolsward.



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