DePanne: Stage 2 win for Kristoff

Alexander Kristoff gets the win on stage 2 ahead of Theuns and Kittel as Philippe Gilbert extends his lead overall

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

DePanne: Stage 2 win for Kristoff

A strong sprint straight up the left-hand side of the course in Koksijde gave Team Katusha Alpecin’s Alexander Kristoff his sixth win of the season and provided a boost of confidence for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.

Photo: © Tim De Waele

The 193-kilometer race ended with the expected sprint finish but only from a group of 22 riders after Trek-Segafredo and Katusha-Alpecin pulled hard into a crosswind section with 45 kilometers remaining. The move split the peloton into pieces and caught out second place Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott) and third place Simone Consonni (UAE).

“Alexander Kristoff came to me and asked ‘do you think we can go together in the wind?'” explained Theuns (Trek Segafredo)  about the pivotal moment. “So I let my teammates know about it, and we went when it was a good moment, and we had some good riders in the front so we could make a good gap. It was really good for Matthias for the GC, he is now second, and with the time trial tomorrow he is in good position.”

“I was on the radio to keep them alert because [splits] could happen at any moment,” added director Dirk Demol (Trek Segafredo DS) . “Then at one point they were ready to go and smashed the hammer down, and it was the right move.”
… continued after advert


With a motivated Quick-Step Floors team to help since overall race leader Philippe Gilbert and Marcel Kittel made the selection, the three teams slowly brought back the break which had mark McNally and Conor Dunne in it and then put distance between the lead group and the chasers behind including Durbridge and British champion Adam Blythe.

After 25 kilometers of frantic chasing, the fatigued chasers pulled the plug, leaving the stage win and general classification battle up the road.

Brändle tried to catch Gilbert by surprise with an attack at just under three kilometers remaining, but after a short escape, everything was together again for a reduced bunch sprint where Kristoff denied Theuns and Kittel the stagde win.

“I sort of led out myself for the sprint. I was afraid with the headwind I would be too slow so I sped up slightly all the way and when I saw the others guys coming I was able to sped up more. It was a hard sprint in the headwind but in these smaller sprints without the trains it is more man-against-man and they usually suit me quite well,” said Alexander Kristoff.

Theuns added: “I knew it was a headwind, and I knew that Kristoff likes to go early, so I wanted to get his wheel and go over him, but I was boxed in. I was looking for a gap and waiting, waiting. Luckily it opened on the left, but it was just a little moment too late. But, yeah, I think Kristoff is really strong, and I am happy with the second place.”

Kristoff – “It’s nice to win today. The parcours was a little bit easier so the sprinters were better. I was there with Marcel Kittel in the first group so I was not sure I could beat him as he is usually a bit faster than me. But after a hard race and without the big lead outs, we had our chance today and I was happy to see that I could hold them behind me and take the win today.

You take what you can in cycling. If I cannot win on Sunday I will still always have this nice victory from today but I hope I have the shape on Sunday and I can fight for something,” said Alexander Kristoff, referring to the upcoming classic Ronde van Vlaanderen, a race he won in 2015.

“I don’t look at myself as one of the favorites for Flanders this year because if we look at the results of the largest races so far, I do not have quite the strongest shape. The win here today is good for my confidence, but today is different from Flanders and it’s way harder. Hopefully my condition is coming, but there are many favorites for Flanders, like Gilbert and (Peter) Sagan and (Greg) Van Avermaet. I hope I can be there fighting among them. I hope I will manage to do it on Sunday,” said Kristoff.

Kristoff, age 29, reflected on his history in racing at Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde: “My first pro win outside of Norway came from this race (2012) so I always have good memories from this race. I’ve always come out of here feeling strong and in the past years I was top 5 in Flanders after doing this race so for me it has been working very well to improve my shape,” Kristoff concluded. Thursday is a double-stage with a 118.5k road stage in the morning followed by the concluding 14.2k time trial, all in De Panne

Philippe Gilbert (Quickstep): “This stage was very nervous, but we stayed at the front and were well-positioned at all times. I knew Chavanel or Brändle will try something in the finale, so when the latter went, I responded immediately. Unfortunately, his surge meant everyone lost their position there, so the sprint became pretty hectic”, said Philippe, who looks with optimism to Thursday’s stages: “Tomorrow we will be again at the front to help Marcel get the victory, while in the afternoon I’ll try to do my best against the clock.”

Tomorrow is a double stage day with a 118-kilometer race in the morning, followed by a 14-kilometer time trial in the afternoon. Trek-Segafredo still leads the team classification with three riders in the top 10: Brändle second, Theuns fourth, and Boy van Poppel ninth.

Stage 2
1. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha – Alpecin
2. Edward Theuns, Trek – Segafredo
3. Marcel Kittel, Quick-Step Floors
4. Pascal Ackermann, Bora – Hansgrohe
5. Andrea Guardini, UAE Team Emirates
6. Maxime Vantomme, WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect
7. Adrien Petit Direct Energie
8. Coen Vermeltfoort, Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij
9. Pierre-Luc Perichon, Fortuneo – Vital Concept
10. Conor Dunne, Aqua Blue Sport

12. Philippe Gilbert, Quick-Step Floors
17. Mark Mcnally, Wanty – Groupe Gobert
81. Daniel McLay Fortuneo – Vital Concept @ 2.31
94. Luke Durbridge, ORICA-Scott
96. Adam Blythe, Aqua Blue Sport
97. Matthew Brammeier Aqua Blue Sport
115. Mark Christian Aqua Blue Sport @ 6.48
137. Jack Bauer Quick-Step Floors
154. Zakkari Dempster Israel Cycling Academy
163. Andrew Fenn Aqua Blue Sport

1 Philippe Gilbert Quick-Step Floors
2 Matthias Brändle Trek – Segafredo 0:50
3 Alexander Kristoff Team Katusha – Alpecin 1:07
4 Edward Theuns Trek – Segafredo 1:11
5 Pim Ligthart Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij 1:15
6 Sylvain Chavanel Direct Energie
7 Maxime Vantomme WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect 1:17
8 Pierre-Luc Perichon Fortuneo – Vital Concept
9 Boy van Poppel Trek – Segafredo 1:22
10 Jasper de Buyst Lotto Soudal 2:25

1. Piet Allegeart
7. Mark McNally



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


Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK