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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, March 30, 2023

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I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Paris–Roubaix: The Inside Story

Les Woodland's book Paris-Roubaix: The Inside Story - All the bumps of cycling's cobbled classic is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Dwars Door Vlaanderen team reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from winner Christophe Laporte's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Christophe Laporte has won Dwars door Vlaanderen in impressive style. The Frenchman of Team Jumbo-Visma made his move in the final kilometres to claim the victory after a strong solo.

Team Jumbo-Visma was the dominant team in the race. In the Flemish Ardennes, Tim van Dijke and Tosh Van der Sande put their leaders, Tiesj Benoot and Laporte, in a good position. On the Kanarieberg and Knokteberg, among others, Benoot ran off, and his French companion was often close in pursuit. After a game of cat and mouse between several groups, Laporte made an ultimate acceleration on the roads to Waregem. None of his escape companions were able to follow.

Laporte: "It was another great day for the team. Everyone did a great job, and Tiesj was particularly strong. His attacks on the climbs created a strong group, and we were able to fight for the win.”

Christophe Laporte enjoys his win.

The Gent-Wevelgem winner was ecstatic with his most recent triumph. "It's still hard to believe what happened today. It's amazing what our team accomplished. Maintaining this form for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix is crucial. Those are still our main goals.”

The victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen fits into the Dutch team's productive classic spring. Earlier this season, Dylan van Baarle won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Benoot triumphed at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Van Aert won the E3 Saxo Classic, and Laporte won at Gent-Wevelgem. In Dwars door Vlaanderen, Laporte expanded the list of classic victories.

It is already the 20th victory of the season for the Jumbo-Visma team. For the Frenchman, it is his second victory of the year.

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Here's the report from sixth-place Arnaud De Lie's Team Lotto Dstny:

Lotto Dstny rider Arnaud De Lie has finished sixth in a nerve racking edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen (1.UWT). After the race was opened at almost 100 kilometres from the finish, racing went on all the way to the finish. On the second ascent of the Knokteberg, a group of eight attacked and went searching for the breakaway. Lotto Dstny was forced to chase but kept the gap to the front limited due to enormous work of Jasper De Buyst, Frederik Frison and Pascal Eenkhoorn, who all worked for teammate Arnaud De Lie.

The peloton rolls out from the start line.

In a true thriller of a final, the reduced bunch almost made the catch but it was Christophe Laporte who accelerated and finished solo in Waregem with a small advantage. Attackers Powless and Lazkano completed the podium, only seconds later Arnaud De Lie sprinted to sixth place.

De Lie looked back on his second Dwars door Vlaanderen with a satisfied feeling. “The racing started really early and from then on we never got the chance to catch our breath. We were attentive in the hill zone and I was able to stay in the front really well. When they accelerated on the Kanarieberg, I tried to follow but I just wasn’t able to.”

“That is how we were left to chase but we didn’t panic and organised ourselves quite well. Jasper, Pascal and Frederik did a huge amount of work and eventually we still came really close. Pascal went all out one last time on the final cobbles so we could maybe sprint for a podium place. I was maybe a little less stronger compared to Omloop Het Nieuwsblad but I think we delivered another strong team performance today. Onto Paris-Roubaix”, concluded the 21-year-old Belgian.

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Soudal Quick-Step's Davide Ballerini was seventh. His team posted this report:

Davide Ballerini racked up his second top-10 of the season in a cobbled classic. One month after finishing sixth at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, he was again in the thick of the action, this time at the 77th edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen, which took in a dozen or so climbs, most of which were stacked in the final 100 kilometers.

Davide Ballerini last year at the Coppa Bernocchi. Sirotti photo

It wasn’t an easy day for Soudal Quick-Step, as Tim Merlier was forced to retire with 70 kilometers to go after crashing on Berg Ten Houte. Fortunately, the Belgian Champion ended up with only some small abrasions after this incident, but as a measure of precaution he stopped the race. Julian Alaphilippe and Davide Ballerini, our two riders who remained part of the peloton after the selection that took place on the climb, tried several times to break clear, only for the others to respond each time.

Some 50 kilometers from the finish, eight men rode away, and despite taking their gap to one minute, the bunch kept believing in their chances. Alaphilippe and Ballerini helped with the chase, and the margin between the two groups began tumbling down after the last climb. On the line, only a couple of seconds separated the chasers from winner Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), and it was from that small peloton that Davide sprinted to seventh place.

“It was a very tough race, because the action began with more than 90 kilometers to go. We tried our best, as always, but it was hard out there. I was in the front with Julian, we combined well for a strong effort, but it was difficult for me to recover after the hills. In the sprint I gave everything, but I knew that I wasn’t on my best day. On the other hand, this top 10 is encouraging for Sunday, when we’ll try to get a good result”, said the 28-year-old Italian.

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And here’s the Dwars Door Vlaanderen report from Nils Politt’s Team Bora-hansgrohe:

With its combination of steep climbs and cobbled sectors, Dwars door Vlaanderen presented the final opportunity for the riders to test their legs before the second Monument of the season. With the start in Roesalare and finish in Waregem, the 183.7 km long course featured eleven helligen and eight cobbled sectors. The break went clear early on, but with around 6 km to go, the race came together again before ten riders broke away from the decimated field that contained Nils Politt and Danny van Poppel. The race then opened up again with 4.5km remaining, when Laporte attacked from the leading group and no one was able to follow him. Nils took 10th place while Danny crossed the finish line in 18th.

“It was another tough day. The racing kicked off relatively early and, to be honest, it was very hectic, with a few crashes at key points. Then, unfortunately, Merlier fell in front of us on Berg ten Houte and then the gap opened up heading into the Kanarieberg, which we were then able to close. On the Trieu I just couldn't follow the first group. I noticed that my legs are just a bit heavy from Sunday. Still, I'm happy with a top ten result, especially considering that many of the sprinters were still in my group that raced to the line." - Nils Politt

"That's another Classic in the bag. We were present on the climbs, and with the win going to Laporte, we tried to sprint for second place. Nils took tenth in the end, which admittedly wasn't the position that we were fighting for today. But the morale is high and we're still going to head into the next races with confidence." - Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, Sports Director



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