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The Belgian makes it into a select group, escapes with three other riders on the final passage of the Vamberg, and finally makes use of his great sprinting skills to win the Dutch one-day race

Photo: Sirotti








15.03.2014 @ 19:03 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol) proved that he is more than just a pure sprinter when he won the Dutch one-day race Ronde van Drenthe in unusual fashion. The Belgian made it into a 15-rider group that was set to decide the win and then made the 4-rider selection when Bert-Jan Lindeman (Rabobank) accelerated the final time up the Vamberg before using his impressive sprint skills to hold off Scott Thwaites (NetApp-Endura) and Lindeman in the final dash to the line.


Kenny Dehaes may be known as a sprinter but today he proved that he doesn't need a bunch sprint to win a bike race. The Belgian proved his versatility when he survived the gradual selection in the Ronde van Drenthe to take an impressive win.


The 204.7km race started and finished in Hoogeveen and consisted of a long flat run in the Drenthe region. However, several cobbled sections were set to split up things as was the famous Vamberg climb that would be tackled early in the race and then three times on a small 7.1 circuit that would be tackled around 50km from the finish. The race ended with a lap of a flat 29.8km circuit that sent the riders one final time up the short, steep climb just 16km from the finish.


While on paper, the race has the characteristics of a sprint race, it rarely ends in a bunch sprint and the sprinters were again denied in the 2014 edition of the race. In the first part of the race, the many cobbled sectors and the first passages of the Vamberg was enough to make a big selection as a 15-rider front group was created.


The group was made up of Dehaes, Scott Thwaites, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Sander Helven (Topsport), Yves Lampaert (Topsport), Clement Koretzky (Bretagne), Jelle Wallays (Topsport), Brian van Goethem (Metec), Sven Erik Bystrøm (Østerhus), Remco Te Brake (Metec), Jim Van Den Berg (Koga), Gert Dockx (Lotto Belisol), Ruben Fernandez (Caja Rural), Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthCare), and Ronan van Zandbeek (De Rijke). Even though major favourites Belkin had missed the move, the presence of many Topsport riders were enough for the group to stay away while the peloton finally had to give up in their chase.


The cooperation was smooth and they started the finishing lap with a gap of more than 5 minutes.


It was now clear that the winner of the race would be one of the escapees but the seamless cooperation worked perfectly for a long time. Finally, the cohesion was brought when one of the Topsport Vlaanderen riders attacked and he was quickly joined by Bert-Jan Lindeman. However, things quickly came back together and the riders were now preparing themselves for a big battle on the Vamberg.


Sander Helven (Topsport Vlaanderen) attacked from the bottom but he was quickly passed by an in-form Lindeman who seemed to be the strongest rider in the race. He put the hammer down all the way to the top where only Helven and Scott Thwaites had been able to keep up with him.


Dehaes were just a few metres behind and made the junction on the descent. Despite the presence of sprinter Dehaes and Thwaites, the group worked well together and quickly built a big gap over a 5-rider chasing group made up of Bystrøm, Lampaert, Koretzky, van Goethem, and Wallays.


With two Topsport riders in the group and Helven in the front group, it was always clear that it would be difficult for them to get back, and when the front group reached the final five kilometres, they felt comfortable enough in their gap that they could start to play the game of cat and mouse.


For a long time, the riders kept looking at each other and as they passed the flamme rouge, the chasers were suddenly getting close with Lampaert riding hard in a quest to bridge across. Dehaes felt comfortable in his sprint though and so he went to the front to keep the pace high enough to hold the chasers at bay.


With a few hundred metres to go, Dehaes launched his sprint from the front and even tough Thwaites did his best to beat the Lotto rider, he had no chance. Dehaes to a comfortable win while the Brit had to settle for second ahead of Lindeman.


The weekend of racing in the Drenthe continues tomorrow with the Dwars door Drenthe which has an easier profile and is expected to end in a bunch sprint.



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