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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, April 1, 2021

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Dwars door Vlaanderen team reports

We posted the report from winner Dylan van Baarle's INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

Here's the report from 4th place Yves Lampaert's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Starting in Roeselare and ending in Waregem after 184 kilometers punctuated by thirteen climbs, the 75th edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen was un unusual one, helped by the fact that no team was in control in the second part of the day, following a crash that, together with the unusual warm temperatures, ended up having on the peloton a bigger impact than expected.

The incident that took place before the Stationsberg, the day’s ninth hill left many of our riders in the position to fight hard in order to return at the front, from where a strong group featuring Florian Sénéchal took off over the Taaienberg. From that move, Dylan Van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers) skipped away with 50 kilometers to go, building a 20-second gap which on paper looked easy to peg back for the chasers. At first, they worked well together, Florian being among the most prominent riders in the group, but then a lull in the pace helped the rider up front double his advantage.

Going past the 10km-to-go mark, the chasers were still trailing the leader, half a minute separating them, but the Dutchman wasn’t their only concern, as in the meantime the regrouped peloton had managed to make up ground on the flat roads to Waregem and was breathing on their neck. While Van Baarle soloed to victory, the bunch made the catch with one kilometer to go, but even in these conditions, Deceuninck – Quick-Step managed to adapt and be in the mix, placing two riders in the top 10, the only team to do so at the Belgian World Tour race.

Dylan van Baarle

Dylan van Baarle had time to enjoy his win. Photo: Getty Sport Images

Yves Lampaert finished just outside the podium – his fourth consecutive top 10th at Dwars door Vlaanderen – while Florian Sénéchal sprinted to ninth, a result which made him the rider with the most top 10 placings (5) in one-day races since the start of the season.

“It wasn’t the easiest of days for us. There were some crashes due to which our riders lost position in crucial moments, and once this happened, it became difficult to come back, especially as the race was continuing at a high speed, which had been the case also before that. Despite this, we still had someone in the front and I must say Florian was very impressive. He followed moves, closed gaps, put in strong turns, so hats off to him for an amazing effort. Unfortunately, the peloton came back under the flamme rouge, but we still had the power to fight for a good result and at the end of the day two of our guys finished in the top 10”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels.

Nils Politt's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

A total of 185 kilometres, dotted with numerous cobblestone sectors, 13 hellinge and winding, narrow roads, offered riders another opportunity to test their legs ahead of the Tour of Flanders. After the start in the soccer stadium of Roeselare, the peloton remained together for the first 85 km until a trio eventually broke free. However, the field continuously kept the leaders on a tight leash and 35 km later, they were reeled back in again.

Dwars door Vlaanderen

A nice day for a bike race. The riders get ready to start the 2021 Dwars door Vlaanderen.

With 50 km of racing remaining, a small group, including Nils Politt, broke away from the peloton while the rest of the field was left to splinter. A little later, D. Van Baarle pulled away from the breakaway and after a few kilometres a number of riders managed to join the group surrounding Nils. Attacks started to fly from the peloton, which had meanwhile been whittled down to 30 riders. On the Knokteberg, two chasing groups joined forces and went after the leader, who still had a lead of around 30 seconds with 30 kilometres left.

At this point, Nils was riding in the 11-rider strong second chase group, 50 seconds in arrears of the leader. With the chasers lacking coherent groupwork, Van Baarle was able to increase his lead, while the group surrounding Nils was swallowed by the peloton around 15 km from the finish. Several kilometres later, the German tried yet again to launch an attack, but Van Baarle had essentially assured himself the win, with the BORA -hansgrohe rider having to content himself with 28th place in Waregem.

"I have to say that the first race after our quarantine was actually harder than we thought it would be. However, the team was always in a good position at the key points in the race. I attempted to get a good gap on the Taaienberg, but unfortunately the cooperation within the group was not quite there, and then on the penultimate ascent I missed the group in front.  Perhaps it's because I invested a bit too much before, but in the end, I rode a solid race and I think I'm now able head towards the Tour of Flanders on Sunday with a positive outlook." - Nils Politt

"It was a stressful week and we only got the green light to start at the last moment. Today we rode almost 100 km full throttle and we were at a bit of a disadvantage because our guys were sitting in the hotel for six days and could only train on the rollers. We were also a bit unlucky, because Pascal had a mechanical and tried to catch up again, but that ended up costing him a lot of energy. We then had Nils, Daniel and Marcus in front and we were trying to fight for a top-10 finish, but in the end, it didn't quite work out. Now we're looking ahead to Sunday and will see what we can achieve there." - Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, Sports Director

Here's Team Jumbo-Visma's report:

Team Jumbo-Visma has not been able to play a role at the front of the race in a fast edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen. After the hectic opening phase, the team was hit by bad luck, after which the yellow-blacks were a step behind.

In the first hour the riders covered more than fifty kilometres. Attempts by Christoph Pfingsten to participate in the breakaway came to nothing.

Sports director Arthur van Dongen was very clear afterwards. “It was a very fast race. In the beginning we planned to send Pfingsten as a rider in the breakaway. He tried several times. However, due to the high pace this didn’t work out. Maarten crashed in the run-up to the second climb of the Kluisberg. Fortunately, the damage was not too bad. Then Olav crashed. Edoardo Affini then waited for him. Due to this concurrence of circumstances, the team tactics were somewhat disrupted. Unfortunately, we lost a number of men, who also didn’t feel well enough to survive the violence on the various climbs.”

Despite the unfortunate race, there was still a ray of hope in the person of Pascal Eenkhoorn. “Although Pascal has not felt great in recent days, he managed to fight his way back into the race today. Eventually he finished in the group that rode for second place. I think that is the most remarkable thing about this day. On to Sunday, when the next challenge awaits us”, Van Dongen concluded.

Annemiek van Vleuten wins Women's Dwars door Vlaanderen

Here's the report from van Vleuten's Team Movistar:

An unforgettable day in the history of the Movistar Team. The Telefónica-backed squad’s first ever win in a cobbled classic in Belgium came from one of the team’s biggest hopes for their new era, where women’s cycling has full protagonism. It was their big leader, Annemiek van Vleuten, who stepped onto the highest step of the podium for the Blues at Dwars door Vlaanderen, held on Wednesday over 122km around Waregem, with its last third dominated by the European champion’s impressive performance.

Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten beats Katarzyna Niewiadoma for the win. Gomez Sport photo

Van Vleuten tore the peloton into pieces with 36km to go as she attacked at the Côte de Trieu / Knokteberg, a move only matched by Polish rider Kasia Niewiadoma (CSR). Together, they started a breathtaking escape, which was never allowed more than 30" over the peloton as Trek-Segafredo and BikeExchange, amongst other teams, tried to bring back. At that point, Leah Thomas’ work shone as she went after nearly every single move trying to catch Van Vleuten.

Her work, together with the efforts from the whole squad directed by Pablo Lastras, allowed Van Vleuten, who launched a long sprint of more than 300 meters, raising her arms victorious and bringing the Spanish outfit their first success of 2021. One where the feels were notably visible for all as they remembered the late Gary Baños.

REACTION / Annemiek van Vleuten:
“I’m so happy with this first victory and being able to pay the team back after the great job they’ve been doing since the start of the season. Races like this one and everything we’ve done this month make me feel really confident about the strength we can display together. At Omloop, I still felt like I had to get into how the team worked, then at Strade everything went really well and today we went a step even further. The whole team has followed the plan 100% and did their fullest. Gloria and Alicia covered us well in the beginning, then Barbara and Aude put me into the right position at all important moments, and having Leah at the front allowed us playing two cards.

“After we did a recon of the course yesterday I was so motivated, and the test we carried out during the last two months at my Tenerife camps showed that the condition was good, yet it’s true that such a long-range attack, more than 30km from the finish, was a risky gamble, but it was at climbs like the Knokteberg where I felt I could make the difference. When I attacked and saw that only Kasia could follow me, I knew it was the time to keep pushing. Some strong riders were missing at today’s field, but I’ve seen that I’ve got the strength to go on the attack, and feeling well gives me confidence for what’s to come.”

“People talk a lot about Sunday, but it was actually a big goal to be up there here for the team, to keep paying them back for the support. This will really help the whole squad ride with more confidence. Seeing how we’re racing, everyone in this team, I’m more and more proud to be a member of the Movistar Team. For the time being, let’s enjoy this win, take some rest and get my body back to ‘normal’ after altitude training, then we’ll start thinking about Sunday.”

Women's Dwars door Vlaanderen results:

  1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) 3hr 4 min 4sec
  2. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) s.t.
  3. Alexis Ryan (Canyon SRAM) @ 19sec
  4. Vittoria Guazzini (Valcar) s.t.
  5. Alison Jackson (Liv Racing) s.t.

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