Tour of Flanders – Another Monument for Kristoff


Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff fulfills dream of winning Flanders as he beats Terpstra to the line to take his second Monument of his career

RST Cycle  Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Tour of Flanders – Another Monument for Kristoff

Above: Kristoff achieves the dream of winning in Flanders

Bright conditions greeted the riders ahead of 264 bumpy kilometres in the saddle. As always in such a high profile race, there was a massive battle to be in the break on the run out of Bruges in Belgium, home to the start of the race.

Sir Bradley Wiggins stayed near the front but crashed on the first approach to the Oude Kwaremont, necessitating a temporary bike change and a battle back to his team-mates. The race settled into a constant pattern as the pace continued to rise behind a seven up with Matt Brammeier. The climbs in the second half were having their effect on the legs of many and the peloton became stretched the second time over the Kwaremont.

As the peloton got ever smaller, Welshmen Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas held firm among the favourites which was a group that was ever shrinking. The winning move came on the Kruisberg climb with still over 25 kilometers to the finish as Nikki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step) played his card early – before the usual one-two knockout punch of the iconic Kwaremont-Paterberg hellingen – and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) smartly marked his attack.

The two riders quickly built a lead that wavered, but never toppled and under the red kite they had enough time in hand to slow down and eye one another in a game of dare to who would make his move first. Despite Terpstra sitting on the Norwegian’s wheel for the final 2.5-kilometers, Kristoff was too powerful – and when he stood on the pedals and began the sprint Terpstra could do no more than a few pedal strokes before he threw in the towel and settled for second. Seconds later BMC’s Greg van Avermaet outpaced Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) to take the final podium step.

“As a young kid I always dreamed of winning in Flanders and now the dream has come true” Alexander Kristoff said after his brilliant win in Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders). Coming under the 1 km to go banner, Kristoff was in the lead with only Niki Terpstra on the wheel, winner last year of Paris Roubaix.

It was Kristoff’s second cycling monument victory after his 2014 victory in Milano – Sanremo. Kristoff is also the first Norwegian to win the Tour of Flanders. “I was a little bit nervous at the end when Niki stopped working”.

“I was afraid the group behind us would catch us, so I just kept up a high speed. I knew if I kept a good speed, but not 100%, that I could still do a good sprint. This has been a great week; it really could not be better” said Kristoff, referring to his three stage wins and overall victory in last week’s 3 Days of De Panne.

Kristoff’s win marks his tenth of the season. I knew to follow Niki when he went. Once we got away, we worked well together and I convinced him to work with me to the finish, knowing the worst he would get was second place.”

“He tried to drop me on the Kwaremont and I was suffering there, but I’m actually quite good on these cobbled climbs. I felt I had him under control on the Paterberg, but in truth you never know. I didn’t let him go because I knew he was strong.”

“I’m happy I managed to go with him and no one came up behind us. I’m a fast finisher so I’m happy I could win.


Second for Terpstra
“I thought he was a good breakaway partner,” Terpstra said. “He’s a fast rider for sure, but when we went away, we still had three climbs to do. So I thought it was possible for me. I hoped to attack there and do something. But on the climbs he was super strong”.

“On the Paterberg he set such a good pace that I could hardly even pass him. He showed his strength in the last weeks and it was true again today. In the last 10 kilometres, when he was still there, there wasn’t much left to do. In the last 3 kilometers I stayed on his wheel because everyone knows how fast he is in the sprint”.

“I hoped he was too tired to have a perfect sprint at that point. But even then, I came next to him when I launched my sprint, he accelerated, and then showed he was the best guy on the roads today”.

“He deserved the victory. I have to be happy with my 2nd place. It’s a big result in a big Monument. Of course I’ve had too many 2nd places and my goal is to win, but considering the situation I am satisfied and am excited for next week at Paris-Roubaix. I’m showing my shape is very good and I am so proud that I will be wearing the No. 1 on my jersey as the defending winner. We will see what can happen next Sunday.”


Third for BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet
One of the pre-race favourites, Van Avermaet finished third at Ronde van Vlaanderen Sunday after a formidable chase of a leading pair with Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) in the last 13 kilometers of the 264.2-km race. “In the end, I am happy I am on the podium,” Van Avermaet said. “I had the legs to win, I think”.

“I was feeling really good the whole day. I tried to make the race hard and when they went, there were were still some teams to control the race, so I didn’t have to go. In the end, we didn’t see them back anymore.”

“I was just hoping they would wait for me a little bit because Kristoff is so much faster than Terpstra in the sprint and last year they didn’t want to ride with me when I was with Stijn Vanderdenbergh,” Van Avermaet said. “So I was hoping today I could come back. But I couldn’t make it anymore.”

Not to be for Geraint Thomas

Above: Geraint Thomas at the front of the peloton in Flanders

“It’s Flanders and it’s obviously a hard race. I just lacked that punch which I had last week on the Kwaremont,” Thomas admitted after the race. “I had to have a go as the boys rode so well all day for me”.

“I just didn’t quite have the legs at the end. When you’re feeling a bit average, it feels like everyone is following you. Once I was in that group behind nobody would work together. Everyone was a leader in there and it was just attack after attack”.

“Everyone in the team committed. We were in a good position all the time and stayed out of trouble. I couldn’t have asked for me. It’s just a shame I couldn’t get a result for them but that’s the way bike racing goes I guess.”

Luke Rowe “Whenever you speak about the classics it’s always about unpredictability. Chatting to G on the bus, he openly admitted he didn’t have the best day. Physically, sometimes your legs aren’t there and today was one of those days. But I think we can hold our heads high. We went out there, we had a plan, we executed it but it didn’t quite come off. That’s life”.

Above: Luke Rowe doing an oustanding ride in Flanders

“I was happy with how I rode. I was there until pretty much the end. That was the plan, to try and take it onto the Kwaremont for the last time. There were only 20-25 guys left, so to be in an elite group like that is quite satisfying on a personal note – but I was just doing my job.”
5th for new Pro Tiesj Benoot of Lotto
Tiesj Benoot: “I’m really happy with this result, it’s a surprise. In Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke I already surprised myself, but I hadn’t expected this at all. The team gave me the task to respond to moves of the second-line favourites from the Taaienberg on. I already thought that was ambitious, but I felt really strong. On the Kruisberg I even accelerated. Kristoff and Terpstra attacked afterwards, it was impossible to bridge to them.”

“At the end I jumped away and only Lars Boom joined me. He took over and together we rode to the finish where I beat him for the fifth place. This race is a monument and close to my home. Of course I dream about it. That I am fifth at my debut is really special. Next Sunday I’ll start in Paris-Roubaix and then I’ll take some rest. Afterwards the team and I will decide about my race programme for the rest of this season.”
John Degenkolb 7th
“I was really good today. The team kept me in front the entire race allowing me to enter the final without wasted energy. The decisive attack for the win came earlier than I expected where a little bit of luck is involved too. When the gap was widening, I switched my focus towards a best possible result at that moment”.

“With some fast riders aboard it is obvious that our group was not chasing hard enough. I am very proud and happy on today’s team performance, which gives me a lot of confidence towards next week’s Paris-Roubaix.”

Matt Brammeier Gets the Beers In
Team MTN-Qhubeka’s Matt Brammeier made is debut in the race and celebrated, unsurprisingly by making the seven rider break of the day. Matt and his breakaway companions would eventually be reeled in just before the second time up the Oude Kwaremont. It was a good day out for the Merseysideer though as Matt won the Sint-Eloois-Winkel sprint, taking home his body weight in beer.

“I had to go pretty deep to get into the break. We did more than 50k’s in the first hour I think. Getting into the break was my objective for the day and also its kind of my specialty so I put everything into it. I never quite recovered from that effort and after that I just tried to go as deep into the race as possible. As soon as I was caught by the peloton I was a spent force and my race was soon over. I am really happy with how I rode in my first Ronde. The atmosphere and support out there was pretty insane, what a day!”

1. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha 6:26:32
2. Niki Terpstra, Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Greg Van Avermaet, BMC Racing Team 0:00:07
4. Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:16
5. Tiesj Benoot, Lotto Soudal 0:00:36
6. Lars Boom, Astana Pro Team
7. John Degenkolb, Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:49
8. Jurgen Roelandts, Lotto Soudal
9. Zdenek Stybar, Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Martin Elmiger, IAM Cycling

13 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
14 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
15 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 0:02:28
50 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky
56 Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
57 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky
64 Scott Thwaites (GBr) Bora-Argon 18
87 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky

Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK

Tags: , , ,