Feature Report: Sagan wins Flanders


Tinkoff’s Peter Sagan wearing the rainbow stripes wins his first Monument after a solo victory in Tour of Flanders – Report, reactions & results

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Feature Report: Sagan wins Flanders

The ever popular Peter Sagan won Ronde van Vlaanderen in style, wining after a solo breakaway 15km from the finish on the Paterberg climb. The UCI World Champion took his first Monument victory, finishing an exceptionally tough race twenty-five seconds ahead of his rivals.

Seven sectors of pave cobblestones, eighteen climbs and all this over a 255.9km course. Combine that with a fast and furious pace, where the slightest mistake or crash could change the outcome of the race in a moment, the 2016 Ronde van Vlaanderen was never going to be easy.

The UCI World Champion dedicated his win to Antoine Demoitié and Daan Myngheer, the Belgian riders who sadly lost their lives in Gent-Wevelgem and the Criterium International respectively, and to Maciej Bodnar, Peter’s teammate, who was unable to join him at today’s race due to an injury sustained while training this week.

“You have to think about the two riders who died last week – it was very sad. I want to dedicate my win to them and to Maciej Bodnar who had a crash in training. I want to wish him well and see him back in the group soon.”

From the start, there were attempts to break away from the peloton, but after almost two hours of racing, nothing had stuck. Shortly before the climbs and cobblestones began at the 100km mark however, a break finally went away, but at such an early stage of the race, the peloton seemed untroubled. As so many of these breaks fell apart all by themselves with no need from the peloton to reel them in, the difficulty of the course became all the more apparent.

With 40km to go, the attacks from the favourites began. With a small group further up the road, at 32km to go, a trio that included Peter Sagan went on the attack, bridging the gap with 23km remaining, leaving the chasing group more than 30 seconds behind them.

Then, on the Kwaremont, the chasers caught Sagan’s group, but instead of being reeled in, Peter attacked, taking Vanmarcke of LottoNL-Jumbo with him, quickly creating a gap. The Paterberg came and Peter, looking calm and composed, made the decisive move, leaving the Belgian Vanmarcke behind him. With less than 15km to go, Peter was alone at the front, quickly putting time into the chasers and creating a significant gap.

Of his solo breakaway, Peter explained from the finish. “The race was very hard today and it’s hard to work with the other guys because nobody wants to work with me. It’s always better to drop everybody.”

As Peter passed under the Flamme Rouge, it was clear that the UCI World Champion’s break was going to be successful, crossing the line in Oudenaarde twenty-five seconds ahead of Trek-Segafredo’s Fabian Cancellara. In spite of the gap, Peter was clear that the race was a hard one.

“It was a super hard race from the start until the finish, we were always going full gas and I had a bit of a problem after 100km, having to change both wheels. There were a lot of crashes – thank you to all the team they did a great job.” Peter was quick to praise team owner, Oleg Tinkov, for his continued support for the team.

With Paris-Roubaix a week away, Peter felt it was too early after his win in Oudenaarde to talk about his chances. “I’m very happy for this win. Now I want to have fun after this victory, and next week we’ll think about next week, but not now.

THe co-favourite for the race along with Sagan, it was vintage Cancellara, vying for the win to the bitter end. “When I think about it, second is not first. First is history,” said Cancellara. “I didn’t win but…yeah.” He paused to reflect on his race, then continued: “Today I tried to deliver a great race, but we did not have the best luck on our side”.

“In the beginning, we had a lot of mechanical problems, we were involved in crashes, and I think Jasper changed like three times the bike. But in the end, everyone did their maximum; I did the maximum. Second is still a big thing. I was quite emotional this morning, and still now, after so may tries to still finish second I think is not bad. Let me sleep over it and I will be happy. But still I was aiming for history. But I think Peter showed today that he managed everything well and is the deserved winner.”

“I think I was just missing this one second there when Kwiatkowski went with Sagan, and Sep went as well,” pointed out Cancellara. But in the end, it is how it is. There are no excuses. There are no excuses. Sep and I could not catch Peter, he was the strongest. Thank you Flanders.”

“As a team we rode pretty well today,” Rowe told TeamSky.com after the race. “We were always at the front and we said we’d try and put a man in every move after the Koppenberg and I think we did that. On a personal level I’m obviously pretty chuffed with that. We didn’t win the race but it’s another step forward. I’ve got to be happy with that”.

“That last (climb of the) Paterberg is just an absolute slog. It’s just whoever has anything left in the legs, but I still felt relatively alright. I attacked on there with (Alexander) Kristoff and we got across to G’s group. But it was just too little too late to catch the guys in front. Especially with a decent tailwind it was always going to be tough. It seems like 10 seconds over here is like a minute anywhere else. It’s so hard to close the smallest of gaps.”

“We’re doing a recon of Roubaix on Tuesday and then we’ll ride Scheldeprijs on Wednesday,” he added. “Then it’s just a case of feet up, rest, recover, and focus on Roubaix.”

the 100th edition of the Tour of Flanders didn’t run completely smooth for Sep Vanmarcke. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s front man crashed On the descent to Kortekeer after 120 kilometres of racing. “I returned to the peloton, but I noticed the damage of my crash, Vanmarcke said. “My bike broke and it took a while before I was back in the race. I had changed the position of my saddle on purpose, just before the race, and I didn’t have the chance to do that with my second bike as well. After 170 kilometres, I suffered.”

“My team-mates gave it all to bring me back in the race. Maarten Wynants did a lot of work in the beginning of the final,” he added. “I was still feeling good on the climbs. When Sagan and Kwiatkowski attacked, I felt that it was going to be the decisive moment in the race. I had to close the gap to them immediately. Behind me, there was a moment of doubt and that was a perfect situation for me.”



The Katusha rider said of his race “I’m pretty happy with my race. The team rode very well today and always put me in a good position. But at the end I knew it would be hard to follow Cancellara and Sagan when they went on the climb”.

“I was anticipating their move, but my legs just did not have it, so I was dropped a little bit on the Kwaremont. Me and Luke Rowe managed to bridge up on the Paterberg so at the end I could sprint for a good result, and I managed a fourth place, – said team leader Alexander Kristoff.

“Coming into today, I knew it would be hard to be among the best in the climbs, as I have not been feeling super in the last few days even though I had some good results in De Panne. It’s not bad to finish fourth – it tells me I am in OK shape and hopefully will continue to get better for next week and I can see the podium in Roubaix. I’ve never liked Roubaix as much as I like Flanders as I’ve never felt as good there, but hopefully that will change this year, – continued Kristoff.

best placed Etixx – Quick-Step rider at the finish, Zdenek Stybar talked about his race and what happened at key moments: “We gave it all, but unfortunately we missed that extra something we needed to win. When Sagan and Kwiatkowski attacked, you could see that not even Cancellara could close the gap, so that shows how strong the ones at the front were. Everyone could see that we really wanted the win, but we didn’t pull it off, although we gave our best.”

His feelings were echoed by teammate Niki Terpstra, last year’s second place, who was once again up there, among the protagonists, despite having cramps on the Paterberg: “The race was hard. Iljo, Nikolas and Tony were really great in the first part, so hats off to them. After Cancellara attacked on the Kwaremont, we closed the gap with the help of Stijn, but after Fabian took off on Paterberg there was nothing more to do, especially as the unusual high temperatures led to cramps. We are happy with the fact that the team was strong, as this gives us confidence for next week’s Paris-Roubaix.”

1. Peter Sagan, Tinkoff
2. Fabian Cancellera, Trek Segafredo
3. Sep Vanmarcke, LottoNL-Jumbo
4. Alexander Kristoff, Katusha
5. Luke Rowe, Sky
6. Dylan van Baarle, Cannondale
7. Imanol Ervitti, Movistar
8. Zdenek Stybar, Etixx Quickstep
9. Dimtri Claeys, Wanty Gobert
10. Niki Terpstra, Etixx Quickstep

11. Geraint Thomas, Sky
20. Scott Thwaites, Bora
32. Ian Stannard, 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: , ,