Dwars door Vlaanderen – Terpstra Solo Victory


Omega Pharma – Quick-Step started the cobbled classics season in the best possible way with a win in Dwars door Vlaanderen thanks to a awesome solo effort from Niki Terpstra

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Dwars door Vlaanderen – Terpstra Solo Victory

260314 OPQS Dwars door Vlaanderen Terpstra

Photo: OPQS/Tim de Waele

Niki Terpstra attacked on the Paterberg with still 27 kilometres left to go but thanks to teammates disrupting the chases behind, he held on, just, to win by just 17 seconds.

With Gert Steegmans placing himself on the back of a chase group and Tom Boonen covering attacks out of the peloton, and a fighting spirit that accompanied strong legs, former Dutch Champion Niki Terpstra, was able to reach the final kilometres with about a 30″ advantage.

When he first attacked, his gap was about 11 seconds. However, with about 20km to go, his advantage had quickly climbed to more than 20 seconds. Despite three more climbs before the finish, Terpstra was able to hold his power and win alone, just as he did in the 2012 edition.

The race began with Alex Dowsett (Movistar) making a lone effort before the peloton brought him back. More attacks followed before another British rider David Millar lept clear on his own to chase down three riders in front. This he did and the four stayed clear of various chases until a large group bridged across including the Wirral’s Stephen Cummings.

The lead of the break was never that big but they stayed clear for a long while and the pace they set with a lot of passengers in town, saw the break split as the race reached the business end with quite a few ‘bergs’ in the legs already. The break wasn’t the only one starting to get ragged; the peloton too saw crashes and attacks as well as punctures to the likes of Ian Stannard.

The front wheel puncture though didn’t slow Stannard and he was showing his form at the front with a lot of riders hurting behind except for one Niki Terpstra who was on a floater of a day.

Stannard and Terpstra both looked in fine form but it was the 2012 winner from Holland who went clear with still 16 miles to go and Stannard missed the move.

Instead, four riders stepped up to give chase and despite the lead of Terpstra dropping to a tantalising 12 seconds, the quartet of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing), Nicki Sorensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Terpstra’s team-mate Gert Steegmans – there to police the move – could not make the catch.

In fact, it was the chasers who were caught by the peloton with Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) winning the bunch kick but it was only for second place as Terpstra had already celebrated a ‘classic’ victory.

“Terpstra was really strong,” he admitted. “You saw four guys and an entire peloton chasing him and the time wasn’t coming back. He was the strongest guy today” said Sky DS Servais Knaven.

260314 OPQS Dwars door Vlaanderen - Terpstra2

Photo: OPQS/Tim de Waele

Terpstra now has three victories this season including a stage and an overall win at Tour of Qatar.

“I feel really great,” Terpstra said. “I was very motivated for this race, as well as the upcoming races. I trained really well for this, put a lot of effort into this. When it pays off, it’s a great feeling. Of course this race is on the Flemish roads with the small hills, the Pavé, and a lot of wind.”

“This race is suited for a guy like me. The attack on the Paterberg wasn’t planned, but in the final we know we have to be in front when we reach that point. I passed the front group on the Paterberg, I accelerated, and then I was alone. I knew the team was behind me to defend my attack”.

“So, it gave me a lot of morale. I put myself in time trial mode and went to the finish. This was actually a long time trial for me. It was all headwind until the finish. I gave the best I could and in the end I still had a lot of force in my legs.”

“I could go at a good speed and I took the win. In the last kilometre, I couldn’t see the gap behind me. But in the last 600 meters, I could see they weren’t behind me. It gave me a good feeling, but you never know until you cross the finish line. I’m really happy with it. I was able to finish the job of the whole team and I am happy with my condition.”

“The strategy of all the climbs, we had to be in front and go. That’s the strategy and it always is the strategy of OPQS in the Flemish races. We want to be in front and make the race hard. Now, we’re confident. But we still have to stay focused. There are still big races coming up. Because I won over here I am pretty confident for the next weeks. With the way the team raced today I think we are all confident for the next races of the Classics.”

Difficult race says Boonen
“It was a very difficult race,” Niki’s teammate Tom Boonen said. “It was the first race after last week, a very hard week for me and my partner. I think I have to be happy with the result”.

“After the misery of last week, I was expecting the worst. It was actually not so bad, so I think for Friday and Sunday it will be better. The condition is not gone, but with the emotions and everything, it was a very smart move to start today. I was not really on my best level yet, but it should be better this weekend”.

“I tested myself on the Taaienberg. It was not a big test, it was just to get a few guys back from the breakaway. We were 30 seconds behind with 23 riders at that point. After that, in closing down the breakaway, we had to race a little bit in control.”

“I’m pretty happy with my overall performance today. As for Friday, we will see. I hope my condition evolves back to the normal level I had last week. Anything is possible, but I still have to improve. In any case, I am happy I was able to contribute to my team today and even cover an attack in support of Niki. Congratulations to him winning solo today, he really deserved it.”

1 TERPSTRA Niki Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 04:31:43
2 FARRAR Tyler Garmin Sharp 00:17
3 BOZIC Borut Astana Pro Team
4 DRUCKER Jean-Pierre Wanty – Groupe Gobert
5 CHAVANEL Sylvain IAM Cycling
6 DEBUSSCHERE Jens Lotto Belisol
7 VAN ASBROECK Tom Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
8 GATTO Oscar Cannondale
10 HUTAROVICH Yauheni AG2R La Mondiale

13 KRISTOFF Alexander Team Katusha
14 BOONEN Tom Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
15 STANNARD Ian Team Sky
16 MøRKøV Michael Tinkoff-Saxo
36 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team
59 FENN Andrew Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
66 ROWE Luke Team Sky
98 DOWSETT Alex Movistar Team 08:15
101 BAUER Jack Garmin Sharp
102 HOOGERLAND Johnny Androni Giocattoli
110 CUMMINGS Stephen BMC Racing Team
120 MCEVOY Jonathan Team NetApp – Endura


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