Christophe Laporte of Jumbo Visma ambushed the power group shortly after catching the day’s breakaway inside of the 5km banner to steal away to victory in Dwars door Vlaanderen, his second consecutive cobbled classics victory. Laporte had hung around a group of eight chasers, led often by EF Education and Groupama FDJ, until they caught the exceptionally stout and determined leading duo of Alexander Kristoff of Uno-X and Oier Lazkano of Movistar, the last two survivors of the break that had been away for much of the day. Once absorbed, Mikkel Honoré tried a couple times for EF, reeled in by Stefan Küng, whereupon Laporte, sensing a moment of hesitation, bounded away to victory. EF’s Nielson Powless and the irrepressible Lazkano eventually got away to chase Laporte, but to no avail except for podium places. They just did get them ahead of the charging peloton (which had absorbed the forlorn members of what seemed like the winning group), making for a well deserved 1-2-3.
Jumbo Visma have now won all three of the primary warmup events for the Ronde van Vlaanderen, with Wout Van Aert taking the E3 Saxo Bank Classic Friday and then handing Gent-Wevelgem to Laporte Sunday after the duo crushed the peloton. Clearly their individual and collective strength is enough to overwhelm the competition in the smaller, sub-monumental events. But that strength will be tested the rest of the way. The Ronde van Vlaanderen is Sunday’s big prize, and Van Aert will have to contend with two-time winner and eternal rival Mathieu van der Poel again if he wants to put his name in Flemish honor rolls, as he most certainly does. He will have to match Tadej Pogacar in the final climbs, no doubt, and deal with whoever else thinks they have the strength to challenge Jumbo’s throne. From there it is on to Paris-Roubaix, where team strength so often crumbles before individual power. Van Aert or one of his mates, such as defending P-R winner Dylan van Baarle, will have to have the strongest legs on the hardest courses if this really is to be the Dutch team’s season of dominance.
- LAPORTE Christophe, Jumbo-Visma, 4:06:20
- LAZKANO Oier, Movistar Team, at 15”
- POWLESS Neilson, EF Education-EasyPost
- PHILIPSEN Jasper, Alpecin-Deceuninck
- PEDERSEN Mads, Trek - Segafredo
- DE LIE Arnaud, Lotto Dstny
- BALLERINI Davide, Soudal - Quick Step
- PASQUALON Andrea, Bahrain - Victorious
- BOIVIN Guillaume, Israel - Premier Tech
- POLITT Nils, BORA - hansgrohe
- PIDCOCK Thomas, INEOS Grenadiers
- ZINGLE Axel, Cofidis
- DEWULF Stan, AG2R Citroën Team
- WÆRENSKJOLD Søren, Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
- DEGENKOLB John, Team DSM
- VAN GESTEL Dries, TotalEnergies
- TRENTIN Matteo, UAE Team Emirates
- VAN POPPEL Danny, BORA - hansgrohe
- WRIGHT Fred, Bahrain - Victorious
- MATTHEWS Michael, Team Jayco AlUla
Roeselare - Waregem 183.7 km
The gentle warmup for Sunday. Stretch the legs, enjoy the easy course.
Estimated finish time: 16:30-16:55 CEST.
Non-cobbler of the Day: Jasper Philipsen
A good next step for the in-form man trying to establish himself on the next level in the classics.