Tom Pidcock is half way back. Mathieu van der Poel looks just about back. And the cobbled classics are absolutely all the way back.
Van der Poel won today’s edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen from a very small split with Jumbo’s Tiesj Benoot, whom he easily dispatched in the final sprint to take his second victory in Waregem. The pair were the latest of umpteen escape attempts in the final 10km from a lead group of eight riders, who spent the last minutes of the race trying every which way to escape the inevitability of a sprint against the Dutch star. Lotto’s Bert Campenaerts almost pulled it off too, with a long effort from 8km out where he gained a sizable lead and looked all the world like the Flemish cobbles warrior he is, on the loose. But Benoot and Pidcock tracked him down, the latter having the luxury of teammate Ben Turner for help. From there, van der Poel dragged the remaining riders back, before following a counterattack from Benoot which cracked the chasers. In the sprint, Benoot made an effort to match van der Poel’s burst but then sat up, and the pair rolled over the line 8 seconds ahead of Pidcock leading the rest home. Results:
- VAN DER POEL Mathieu, Alpecin-Fenix
- BENOOT Tiesj, Jumbo-Visma
- PIDCOCK Thomas, INEOS Grenadiers
- CAMPENAERTS Victor, Lotto Soudal
- POLITT Nils, BORA - hansgrohe
- KÜNG Stefan, Groupama - FDJ
- O’BRIEN Kelland, Team BikeExchange - Jayco
- TURNER Ben, INEOS Grenadiers
- TRATNIK Jan, Bahrain - Victorious
- POGAČAR Tadej, UAE Team Emirates
Roeselare - Waregem 184 km
The new weenie Dwars, smooth paved climbs and short distance so everyone can stay nice and daisy fresh for Sunday. Dang millennials!
Expected finish: 17:05 - 17:35 CEST
Cobbles-avoider of the Day: Mathieu van der Poel
Feels like the kind of namby-pamby race some guy just back from an injury break could win.