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Part of an 8-rider front group, Debusschere beat Groenewegen in a photo finish to win the 100th edition of the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen; Trusov completed the podium

Photo_ Etixx-QuickStep / Tim De Waele












18.09.2015 @ 17:55 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Michal Golas (Etixx-QuickStep) took the first big international win of his career when he was awarded the visctory of the 100th edition of the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen. Part of a successful 8-rider break, the Pole initially crossed the line in third but after Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal) was relegated and Dylan Groenewegen (Roompot) was disqualified he could step onto the podium as the winner.


Michal Golas is known as a loyal domestiqye who rarely gets a chance to ride for himself. Hence, it is no coincidence that he had failed to take a big UCI victory in the first seven years of his professional career.


Today he finally broke the drought when he was given the win after a dramatic 100th edition of the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen. The Pole had made it into a successful 8-rider break and had initially been beaten by sprinters Jens Debusschere and Dylan Groenewegen. However, the latter was disqualified for irregular sprinting and the fight between the two fast riders prompted the jury to also relegate Debusschere. Hence, Golas was suddenly the winner of the race, with Nikolai Trusov (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Adrian Aas Stien (Joker) completing the podium.


The race which is held on a 12.3km circuit has often been decided in a bunch sprint but this year rainy and windy conditions made it a lot harder. With three laps to go, Lotto Soudal split the field with a big acceleration and then sent Boris Vallee into a four-rider move alongside Nikolay Trusov (Tinkoff-Saxo), Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séche Environnement) and Cees Bol (Rabobank Development Team). Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal), Michal Golas (Etixx-QuickStep), Adrian Aas Stien (Joker), Roy Curvers (Giant-Alpecin) and Dylan Groenewegen (Roompot) joined them to make it a 9-rider group with a 15-second advantage with 30km to go. The second peloton was already 2 minutes behind, with five riders trying to bridge the gap between the two fields.


At the start of the penultimate lap, the first peloton was at 20 seconds, the five chasers at 51 seconds and the second field at 1.10. The escapees managed to extend their advantage to 30 seconds as they went over the cobbles.


At the start of the final lap, the gap was still 26 seconds but the peloton now accelerated, splitting along the way. Hence, it was down to just 15 seconds with 10km to go and 10 seconds at the end of the cobbled sector.


Vachon was dropped from the front group, leaving just 8 riders with a 14-second advantage with 7km to go. Two kilometres later it was still 14 seconds.


With four kilometres to go, Curvers launched the first attack but he only managed to stay clear for one kilometre. At the flamme rouge, the gap was still 18 seconds and it was clear that the winner would could from the front group. Curvers tried but it was to no avail as it came down to a photo finish between Debusschere and Groenewegen. The former looked like the winner until the latter finished extremely fast but it was not enough to stop the Belgian from crossing the line first. However, as Debusschere was relegated and Groenewegen disqualified, it was Golas who took the win.


The series of Belgian one-day races continues tomorrow when many of today’s riders will be at the start of the hillier Primus Classic Impanis – Van Petegem.


A flat race

The 100th edition of the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen was held on a flat 12.3km circuit that included a cobbled section after at the 3km mark. It would be covered 16 times for an overall distance of 192.4km.


It was overcast and windy when the riders gathered for the start. Two riders were absent: Tim de Troyer (Wanty) and Paco Ghistelinck (CCT).


Four riders get clear

The riders were eager to use the tough conditions to some fast racing and the first lap was marked by lots of unsuccessful attacks. That created nervousness and a few crashes helped split the field.


The serious move was formed by Maxime Daniel (AG2R-La Mondiale), Benoit Jarrier (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Philip Lindau (Team Joker) and Alphonse Vermote (VastgoedService-Golden Palace) who had built and advantage of 30 seconds at the end of the second lap. However, the peloton was unwilling to let them go and it was a hard chase for several kilometres, with Wallonie-Brussels doing the work.


Tusveld bridges the gap

As the gap was down to 18 seconds, Jetse Bol (De Rijke) and Piotr Havik (Rabobank) tried to bridge across but they were quickly brought back. Instead, Martijn Tusveld (Rabobank) tried and he made the junction after the completing of the fourth lap.


Niels De Rooze (Veranclassic) now tried to join the move while the peloton finally sat up. While he was fighting hard to close a 12-second gap, the peloton had been distanced by 1.22. At this point, Wanty sprinter Tom Devriendt abandoned.


Roompot in control

De Rooze never made the junction and finally decided to wait for the peloton which was 1.52 behind after 60km of racing. However, the peloton accelerated and at the start of the seventh lap, the gap was down to 1.07 after Roompot had taken control.


The pace again went down and after the next lap, the gap had gone out to 2.05. While the sun came out, Roompot kept the gap just below the 2-minute mark for a while.


Trek accelerate

At the end of the ninth lap, the peloton had again accelerating, bringing the gap down to 1.25 under the impetus of Trek. One lap later it was 1.15 and this was the final calm moment in the race.


In the 11th lap, the peloton was strung out due to the fast pace and when the gap was down to 22 seconds, Lindau and Daniel attacked from the lead group. Meanwhile, riders were getting dropped, with Cheng Ji (Giant-Alpecin) and Cees Bol (Rabobank) among the riders to lose contact.


The break is caught

At the start of the 12th lap, the gap was only 11 seconds and as the peloton didn’t slow down, splits started to appear. At the 140km mark, the junction was made as the two leaders were caught.


With four laps to go, the peloton was still together and riding very fast. At the same time, it started to rain which combined with Zico Waeytens’ Giant-Alpecin’s work to make things hard.



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