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"This victory in a stage race shows that my recovery skills as well as my engine are getting better every year. I'm glad to live up to the expectations of my team. My role in the team will remain the same for the spring c...

Photo: Lotto Soudal
































07.03.2016 @ 00:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Timothy Dupont (Verandas Willems) took a long-awaited first victory at the highest level when he won a dramatic final stage of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen. The Belgian was the fastest in a seven-rider group that escaped in the finale of a windy and rainy race, holding off Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) and Nils Politt (Katusha). With Tom Bohli (BMC) failing to join the move, second place was enough for De Bie to take the overall win ahead of Lukasz Wisniowski (Etixx-QuickStep) and Politt.


We have gathered several reactions.


Sean De Bie after big stage race win: My engine is getting stronger

Sean De Bie was the overall winner with an advantage of seven seconds on Wisniowski. Lotto Soudal won the teams classification and both Tosh Van der Sande (7th) and Jelle Wallays (9th) finished in the top ten of the overall ranking as well.


“After the finish I was disappointed at first because I had missed out on the stage win, but soon I realized I had won the GC and of course I am over the moon now. In the sprint I maybe was too much focussed on Wisniowski who was only one second behind me on GC and whom I had to look out for,” De Bie said.


“Our team raced at the front all day long. On the cobblestones in Diksmuide, at about fifty kilometres from the end, we raised the pace. The wind had made the race hard right from the beginning, after one hundred kilometres everybody was tired and when we set a higher pace the peloton split again. With four teammates we were part of a new front group of twenty.


”When entering the local circuit, with about forty kilometres to go, there was a sprint. Tosh and I sprinted for the bonus seconds and then immediately forced a new selection. The new break had the perfect composition, with riders who were interested in GC and others who were keen on winning the stage.


“My teammates all did a great job yesterday and today. After five kilometres echelons had been formed in this last stage. At first I wasn’t in the first group, but I remained calm. My teammates helped me to close the gap. Yesterday, they already led me to one of the sprints in a good position and today they did it again. Those seconds turned out to be very useful. Tosh was a great support in today’s finale. First as motor of the group and afterwards to keep an eye on my opponents.”


“I was just still a bit disappointed because I was second,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “It would have made my final victory so much better if I might had won the last stage. But I can make peace with those places of honor because I do won a GC.


"I fell to the ground 150 meters from the finish because I had been beaten by Timothy Dupont. But then I heard that the victory was mine. I have to thank Tosh Van der Sande and actually the team. Especially for all the work they delivered after the prologue. Without them I could not go to the podium to pick up the yellow jersey. Jelle Wallays attacked behind and was part of the work to destroy an attempt by Florian Senechal. We played it perfectly with the team.”


"It was very nervous today but the weather conditions with the wind and the rain were not strange," De Bie continued. "When we were in front with seven riders, the cooperation was immediately very well. Everyone did their part of the job. The gap became bigger and bigger so we started to believe in it. I picked up a few bonus seconds and that was a good move.


"As a team, we have done well here in Flanders. We were here with a young team that finished well. That's nice. At the end of last season I felt that there was progression for me. I trained very well this winter and I see the rewards. I will soon ride Nokere Koerse and Handzame Classic. They are also races that suit me.


"It's my first win in a stage race since the juniors. I fought on both days for bonus seconds. It is thanks to this that I built my success. My team was really 100% for me. From the beginning of the race, it was hard and cold, but I was dressed warmly. I still felt I had the strength in the legs. Tosh Van Der Sande made ​​sure to ride a bloc in the finale to prevent any attack. I was wary of Nils Politt and Łukasz Wiśniowski, but no one planned to attack. 


"This victory in a stage race shows that my recovery skills as well as my engine are getting better every year. I'm glad to live up to the expectations of my team. My role in the team will remain the same for the spring classics. Tiesj Benoot, Jens Debusschere and Jurgen Roelandts are still at a higher level.”


Timothy Dupont: I hope this win will open some doors for me

"This is a great victory. Check once again the riders with whom I was in the break. I beat riders like Wisniowski, De Bie and Van der Sande. I even think that this is the most beautiful victory of my career," Timothy Dupont told Het Nieuwsblad.

"I had planned to be attentive in the finale. I saw the Lotto riders move for the third and final sprint. With seven riders we took the lead. Behind us they hesitated so it looked like a good break. Gradually our belief in the break got bigger and eventually I left everybody behind me in the sprint. It was a very difficult stage today. From the start, the cold hit the legs. The wind was not nice.


"This is a blessing. Last year I had to undergo surgery on the hip. It required a long rehabilitation period. And now this after a winter in which I trained a lot and hard. I hope this season will be a real breakthrough . I can rely on a very strong team. I was the favourite in the sprint and I did not disappoint.


“I will next ride in Drenthe, then Nokere Koerse and Handzame Classic. Of course you hope to open some doors with such a victory. I certainly want to aim higher. This victory is already beautiful on my palmares.


"Yesterday, I was already close to winning. I had to brake in the last corner. I think I could have finished closer to Dylan Groenewegen. Today I decided to go on the offensive. It was the right choice. In the last kilometer, I was second. I thought I was too close to the front. Łukasz Wiśniowski came on the left, with Sean De Bie. I knew I had to start at that time. With such a team behind me, we can get very far. Handzame classic and Nokere Koerse are races that suit me.”


Breakthrough result for Lukasz Wisniowski in West Flanders


Lukasz Wisniowski tried to take his fellow attackers by surprise, but he couldn't outsprint them and eventually finished 5th in the stage won by Timothy Dupont. Still, 24-year-old Wisniowski had reasons to smile at the end of the day, as he was runner-up in the general classification – just behind De Bie, who took the yellow jersey thanks to the bonus seconds – becoming the second Polish rider to finish Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen on the podium.


"Today was a really hard day, windy and with a little bit of rain, but the team supported me throughout the stage, which was fantastic. Then, on the final circuit, following a fight for an intermediate sprint, the breakaway took off. Even though I missed on the victory, I am happy of my result and my condition. Etixx – Quick-Step did an amazing job this week, and I wish to thank all my teammates for their work", said Lukasz after the Belgian race.


Nils Politt confirms huge potential with third place in West Flanders

It was a day to celebrate his twenty-second birthday and first podium for neo-pro Nils Politt on Sunday. Politt sprinted in for third place on the 182,7 km final stage from Nieuwpoort to Ichtegem. The podium spot earned him third place on the general classification, too, and made him one of the revelations of the early season for Team KATUSHA.


”I took the last bonification sprint and because of the gap created by that sprint, I decided to carry on. I told the two Lotto guys to give everything. I believed in our chances and fortunately so did they. 15 km later we had 1’10” so it was possible to stay away. We stayed together – there was really no time to calculate or try to escape. It was a sprint and I have to say the two others were just faster sprinters than me, but I am very happy. On my birthday I took my first podium in my professional career. It appears that I like the Flemish races. Now I hope I will still be good a bit later. I hope I can start in the Tour of Flanders, too. That would be nice,” said Nils Politt.


Earlier in the race Politt was joined by teammates Aleksandr Porsev, Viacheslav Kuznetsov and Alexey Tsatevich in a break of 47 riders, making for a very active day for KATUSHA riders. 


Olivier Pardini delivers another top result in West Flanders

"I am pleased to have taken the initiative to create the right break,” Olivier Pardini told Directvelo after finishing fourth overall. “Upon entering the local circuit, I was no longer certain that the first passage of the line was a sprint. I then asked for confirmation over the radio so I did ​​the sprint and finished second behind Pollitt. Looking back, I saw that we had a few meters on the peloton. The big formations were represented. Sean De Bie and Łukasz Wiśniowski were present. I upped the pace in the crosswind. The gap quickly reached twenty seconds. We were five. Timothy Dupont and Xandro Meurisse joined us a little later. And we went to the finish. This race confirms my good performance at the Classic Sud-Ardeche. I will now join a few teammates in Croatia to do the Istrian Spring Trophy with ambitions.


"My aim was to get at least one top-10 in the 3 Days of West Flanders and I reached that goal. And with the grinta. I managed to get the bonus seconds at the first passage. A group was then formed some 45 kilometers from the finish in Ichtegem. I saw that the riders who were in my wheel were those who fought for GC. Therefore we directly got a gap on the peloton. Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, which was not represented in the leading group, certainly tried to bring the peloton back but in vain. We managed to stay away. 


“I have no regrets after the 3 Days of West Flanders. I might have been able to do a little better in the prologue but I still had the GP Samyn in the legs and the riders who have did the best times only did 100 kilometers at GP Samyn. So it was a matter of strategy. It is also a shame to have punctured on Saturday but Baptiste Planckaert superbly did a great result for the team. 


“My form is good and I will do everything on the roads of the Istrian Sprint Trophy in Croatia. I do not know this race but I think that I have my chance in a 2.2 race, especially with the prologue. I also target a result in the Tour de Norrmandie.”


Tom Bohli loses it all on final day in West Flanders

It was a battle to hold onto the Yellow Jersey for Tom Bohli in today’s second and final stage of Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen.


Despite a solid effort by Bohli and his BMC Racing Team teammates, Bohli finished 54 seconds down on stage winner Tim Dupont (Verandas Willems Cycling Team) and ended up eighth overall on the General Classification which was taken out by Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal).


Bohli’s result comes off a brilliant ride in the opening prologue where he set a race record for the fastest time ever recorded.


BMC Racing Team Sports Director Jackson Stewart said the team worked tirelessly all day to defend the jersey.


“It was a really hard day out there, especially with some bad weather to contend with. We started out with six riders and were soon down to four after the first 20km as the it was full gas from the get go. The guys were on the defensive all day and around 30km to go seven riders attacked and we just couldn’t quite bring it back,” Stewart said.


“At the end of the day Tom can be really happy with his racing here. He won his first race as a professional rider, set a race record in the prologue and really showed his potential for this season and beyond.”


Disappointed LottoNL-Jumbo lose it all on final day in West Flanders

Team LottoNL-Jumbo played no significant role in the final stage of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen today. Timothy Dupont (Verandas Willems) won the 183-kilometre stage to Ichtegem, Belgium, and Sean De Bie (Lotto-Soudal) the final classification. LottoNL-Jumbo’s Martijn Keizer placed 11th overall. 

In the beginning of the stage, the team of sports director Merijn Zeeman was in the right echelon. LottoNL-Jumbo had five riders in the leading group of 45 riders ahead of the hill zone around the Kemmelberg climb. 

"We were great in the beginning. The men had been paying attention in the wind, but then this large group came back,” explained Zeeman. "We started well and with ambition,  but when that group came back, that was a turning point for us. We also lost Robert Wagner when he punctured on the Kemmelberg because the cars where not allowed to follow on that climb. And some moments later, Maarten Wynants fell. " 

Just before the city circuit, Team LottoNL-Jumbo lacked the punch to make the decisive escape.


"In all the crucial moments, we were there," said Martijn Keizer. "On the Kemmel, in the wind, and all other crucial moments... Towards the circuit, it was a bit quiet in the peloton and because of that we perhaps didn’t pay enough attention. Moments later, a group went free without us. We handled that, but when the seven-man breakaway made ground, again none of us was there. And BMC Racing didn’t do anything for their leader Bohli. At one point, only Dylan and I were still in the chasing group and we couldn’t do anything any more.

“I’m not satisfied. I just want to show that I can win in this kind of races. The time trial went well. I was second. Yesterday was great with a win and we lose everything today. That 11th place doesn’t tell me much. I wanted to go for the final victory. " 

"The fighting spirit is good in this young group," added Zeeman. “I'm satisfied with that. But we could’ve had much more out of this. Yesterday we won, today we have nothing. “


"Today we really wanted to win the overall classification with Martijn Keizer and the stage with Dylan Groenewegen,” he told Directvelo. “I'm disappointed because we had a very good start to the stage. We have four riders in the first echelon. Then the peloton returned. Too bad. Unfortunately, we lost Robert Wagner and Maarten Wynants due to a crash. With these two riders, we could have had riders to chase alongside Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise. We lacked the forces. It's a shame because Dylan Groenewegen also felt good. I regret that the team missed the breakaway. I just told Martijn Keizer that he should be in the group of De Bie and Wisniowski.”


Aggressive performance by ONE in West Flanders

ONE Pro Cycling rode an aggressive stage


It was another bitterly cold and wet day for Stage 2 of Driedaagse Van West-Vlanderen. The weather conditions played a massive part in the race with a strong crosswind splitting the peloton into 6 smaller groups in the first 3km. 15 riders including Chris Opie who were positioned in the front group took advantage of the chaos and went off the front. This was closely followed by Yanto Barker in group 2, while the rest of the team were split amongst the remaining groups.


A big effort saw group 1 and 2 merge creating one large group of 47 riders including representation from Yanto Barker and Steele Von Hoff, with Dion Smith leading up the chase group behind. A combination of strong crosswinds and cobbled climbs made it look as though there was a possibility it all might come back together. However a decisive move by Chris Opie saw him attack off the front of the group with three other riders joining the pursuit they were able to create a 4 man breakaway quickly gaining a 24 second advantage.


80km complete and Chris Opie was sitting comfortably in the break which had extended its lead to 1 minute 36 seconds. At the foot of the Kemmelberg and almost 90km into the race 2 riders attacked off the lead group with Chris Opie opening up to try and close it down. However stuck in no mans land for 5km, Opie was advised by the Team Car to drop back to the peloton to prepare for the run into the finishing circuit.


With just over 30km to go until the riders entered the circuit in Ichtegem, Sebastian Lander, Dion Smith, Yanto Barker, Chris Opie and Steele Von Hoff were perfectly positioned and working together at the front of the main group. However, the pace continued to increase as the riders made their way through the narrow lanes cobbled sections including the Steenstraat, stringing out the group once more. On the finishing circuit Yanto Barker and Dion Smith remained in the main bunch with Marcin Bialoblocki and Steele Von Hoff only 38 seconds behind. Meanwhile the leaders had a gap of 1 minute 10 seconds on the main chase group and they weren’t going to let themselves get caught with 3 chasers remaining at 44 seconds.


In the closing stages of the event, the lead group entertained spectators in a brutal bunch sprint, crossing the line after 3 exciting laps of a 13.6km circuit without getting caught by the bunch. Yanto Barker began to position himself in the run up the finish, leading Dion Smith out for a sprint to the line allowing the young kiwi to claim 18th on the stage leaving him in 18th position overall on the General Classification.


It was great teamwork and representation from the squad who are due to return to Belgium in just over a week’s time to start their second block of racing with Semi Classics Nokere and Handzame.


Disappointed Roompot: These are the races where we have to show ourselves

Roompot - Orange Peloton played no significant role in the Three Days of West Flanders. Sports director Michel Cornelisse was frustrated. "These are the races where our boys can show ourselves because the really big names are missing here. That did not happen and I think it is pretty disappointing," he said.


After a prologue in the coastal town of Middelkerke on Friday, the best result was a 30th place for Berden de Vries. In stage 1, André Looij finished 15th.


"Unfortunately Jesper Asselman crashed in this stage and on Sunday he suffered from a hand injury. That's bad luck, but the other guys showed little ambition this weekend. When in the final 45 riders ride away, we simply have to be there,"Cornelisse explained. A broken wheel for Michel Kreder in the last local lap did not help the team. 


With a 22nd place, Wesley Kreder was the first Roompot - Orange Peloton rider in the stage. In the general classification Berden de Vries (22nd) was the highest ranked.


The team now turns its attention to the Ronde van Drenthe.



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