Dwars door Vlaanderen: Win for Van Baarle

Dylan van Baarle secures one of his biggest victories with a rousing solo victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen.

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Dwars door Vlaanderen: Win for Van Baarle

Dylan van Baarle secures one of his biggest victories with a rousing solo victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen. The Dutchman launched a move heading on to the Berg-ten-Houte climb, opening up a gap ahead of the final 50 kilometres. With a chase group behind unable to get organised, the Dutchman stabilised the gap at around half a minute and time trialled to the finish in Waregem, with an eventual winning margin of 26 seconds.

Photo: Getty Images

The result continued Van Baarle’s strong Classics campaign thus far, and showed a great indicator of form heading into Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. It also marked the first time the team has taken victory in the semi-classic. The front-foot racing approach was also embodied on the day by Ethan Hayter. The young Brit launched an early attack off the front of the race before the climbs arrived, and used his positioning well to ride into the finish in a chase group, eventually finishing 11th.

Dylan van Baarle “I actually felt pretty good,” said Van Baarle after his victory. “I told Ethan Hayter to try to set the pace and make it hard for that climb (Berg ten Houte). Then I moved on and I was alone. I was actually hoping some guys would come along. That didn’t happen so I kept riding until a group would join me. They never came. Then I could only think for the last thirty kilometres, just go for a ride, go for a ride, go for a ride. I am glad I made it.”

The 28-year-old Dutchman was seventh in the E3 Saxo Bank Classic last weekend and in Gent-Wevelgem he rode to eighth place two days later. “I think last weekend I showed that I was in good shape and that those places of honour of the past years did not just come out of the blue. This is just a confirmation that I am on the right track.”

“This was also the first classic where I was on the podium, so that is very special. It is high on the list, but the stage victory in the Dauphiné was also very important to me. Last year was a difficult year due to the circumstances. We are on the right track, we took a slightly different approach to the classics this year by attacking a lot more. I am happy that I was able to finish it, ”said Van Baarle.

Ethan Hayter on the move. Photo: Getty Images

Elia Viviani Crashes Out
The Italian sprinter crashed heavily on Maria Borrestraat, with sixty kilometers to go, and was taken to hospital. Viviani was racing his second Dwars door Vlaanderen, after he also started in 2018. On Sunday, the 32-year-old Italian from Cofidis sprinted to his first victory in a year and a half in Cholet-Pays de la Loire.

Julian Alaphilippe: one of the biggest favorites for Dwars door Vlaanderen, the world champion did not experience a good day.  Alaphilippe eventually crossed the line in 22nd place, in the large group behind winner Dylan van Baarle. For the rainbow jersey wearer, it was his first race on the cobblestones since his Italian program. “We did feel the heat,” he responded to L’Équipe.

“I tried to help the team as best I could. We had Florian Sénéchal at the front, but when I started on one of the slopes, I wasn’t sure what the situation was. I wanted to know how I had recovered from the Italian races, which really exhausted me. When I started training again, the stimuli weren’t great. That’s why I rode without stress and pressure. All in all it was ok. I enjoyed myself even though I didn’t end up riding to a good result. On Sunday I hope for a better feeling in the Tour of Flanders.”

Jasper Stuyven: “The past few days have been quite stressful, so it was nice to be able to race again,” said Stuyven afterwards. “We tried to get the best out of it and everyone gave 100% to put me in the best position as soon as the course exploded. I was always in the right position, driving offensively and I think that’s the right way to handle a race. I felt good.

“It was a pity that the group did not go full steam ahead, so we never got closer to Van Baarle. With a kilometre to go, the peloton came back and the chance on the podium became very small. The result may not be great, but it was great to help make the race after the past few days and to be able to ride at the front.” The Tour of Flanders is his next goal. “I feel good, so that’s nice. All stress and frustration is gone. Now I am taking it easy and am going to recover for Sunday.”

Mathieu van der Poel stuck his nose in the wind fifty kilometres from the finish, but quickly backed off. In the final he limited himself to working for Tim Merlier. “No, I didn’t play hide and seek. I didn’t have the legs. But I don’t draw any conclusions from that for the Tour of Flanders. I felt it quite early”.

“It didn’t work well in the beginning. It really wasn’t my day. Whether it was the heat? That could be. I don’t like that. In any case, I had enough food and drink. That was not the problem. Today I put some money in the parking metre” he laughed. “But I was certainly not alone. Julian Alaphilippe also came to tell me on the way that he was not worth a penny. I could not suffer either”.

“I already knew it at the Hotond. There I had to quickly fall back at my own pace. Better today than Sunday, I think. In the final, I did my best working for Tim Merlier. Nice that he still sprints to the podium. But why should my underachievement today be a precursor to Sunday? Look at Van Aert. He was also not top in E3 Saxo Bank Classic, but then you see him convincingly winning Gent-Wevelgem two days later. It will also be less warm on Sunday than today.”

Christophe Laporte: “This was the highest achievable, because we could not bring back Van Baarle. In our group, the collaboration was not very good and that was difficult. Sometimes they rode fast, then the pace was completely lost again. I attacked at the red kite for the last kilometre, when I saw that the peloton was going to return. But Van Baarle is the deserved winner. The condition is there. On Sunday, in the Tour of Flanders, I will give the maximum. The Ronde is a great race ”, he concluded.

Tim Merlier sprinted convincingly to third place. “When Mathieu indicated that he was not good enough, we drew my card. I really didn’t have a good feeling until the first big selection,” Merlier said in a first reaction. “That early heat didn’t do me any good. I then started to cool myself down with water and it went better and better. When Mathieu said that he wasn’t feeling great we decided to choose the option for a sprint.

But the peloton was no longer close to Van Baarle. We received a too little support for that. FdJ cooperated for a while, but perhaps Demare had little faith in his sprint, so that his teammates dropped out.”

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