Dwars door Vlaanderen – Race debrief

Race: Dwars door Vlaanderen (WorldTour)
Date: March 28, 2018
Distance: 180km
Weather: Constant rain, 8-10 degrees.

Podium: 1st Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors), 2nd Mike Teunissen (Team Sunweb), 3rd Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale)

Winner’s quote: “We went into the last kilometre and I tried to have a gap of 10 metres, then started to sprint full gas. I knew if they gave me five seconds in the last kilometre then it would be difficult to bridge it again. Most of us were already on the limit – it was a hard day, a hard race, also with the weather conditions it was not easy, with all day rain.”

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Critical point: When an attack containing Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) is caught after the second ascent of the Knokteberg, Sep Vanmarcke launches an attack on the last difficult sector of cobbles with 26 kilometres to go. With BMC split over the road, only Lampaert can initially follow. Teunissen, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) scamper across, but from that point on the race is over for those left behind. Quick-Step Floors patrol the chase through Niki Terpstra and Zdenek Stybar, while Jasper Stuyven is forced to sit back with his teammate, Pedersen, up the road. The rest of the chase, including Alejandro Valverde and Gianni Moscon, are unwilling to commit with two Quick-Step riders waiting in the wings.

Final kilometre: A five-rider group heads under the flamme rouge but the pace drops after a late attack from Mads Pedersen is neutralized by Lampaert. As the speed continues to slow, the riders begin to look at each other, and Lampaert accelerates from the front. There’s a split second, before the attack, when at least three of the other riders in the break have their heads down, while Vanmarcke is still recovering from Pedersen’s vicious acceleration. Boasson Hagen lets a gap open, while Vanmarcke hesitates and then anticipates Teunissen will chase. A response never comes and Lampaert takes his second consecutive win in the race. Teunissen claims a surprise second-place, with Vanmarcke just about holding off Boasson Hagen for the final step on the podium.

Early break: There were few early moves but nothing stuck until…

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