Virtually unknown to the peloton, Gert Joeäär, won today’s opening prologue of the 2014 Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, with an impressive performance that yielded him a time that was almost six seconds faster than his closest rival Johan Le Bon, and 8 seconds faster than defending champion Kristof Vandewalle – who finished third.
The Estonian rider turned professional last year at the age of 25, after winning a stage of the Ronde de l’Oise. In 2013, he won the overall Tour of Estonia, however, his most notable accomplishment was his presence in the breakaway group during last weekend’s Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, where he went on to finish in 23rd place.
Today’s 7.3 kilometer prologue got underway in Middelkerke, where Christophe Laporte set the fastest time of 8:13. It wasn’t until an hour later, that the French rider’s time was eclipsed by Thomas De Gendt, who set a faster time of 8:11.
From there, the Dutch rider remained on the "hot seat", until Jesse Sergent clocked a faster time of 8:08 – following in sequence of no fewer than 100 riders.
However, the New Zealand rider’s time was soon surpassed by his own teammate, Stijn Devolder, who set a time that was full four seconds faster.
With just eight riders remaining, Devolder’s hopes of claiming his first win of the season were dashed, when Gert Joeaar put in a scorching performance that would finally break the 8 minute mark. From that point on, the Cofidis rider’s time of 7:53 would hold.
Top 25 Finishers
1 Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:07:53.360 2 Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:05.610 3 Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:07.980 4 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:11.550 5 Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:00:14.180 6 Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:15.500 7 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:15.800 8 Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert 0:00:15.820 9 Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp – Endura 0:00:16.820 10 Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:17.010 11 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:18.310 12 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Garmin Sharp 0:00:18.510 13 Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:19.490 14 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:20.030 15 Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:00:22.360 16 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise 0:00:22.580 17 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:23.840 18 Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team 0:00:24.770 19 Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:25.090 20 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:25.600 21 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Bretagne – Seche Environnement 0:00:25.920 22 Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:26.350 23 Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:26.410 24 Blaz Jarc (Slo) Team NetApp – Endura 0:00:27.020 25 Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Cyclingteam De Rijke 0:00:27.060
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