Omega Pharma – Quick Step’s Niki Terpstra set up fellow teammate Zdenek Stybar going into the final 1.5 kilometer cobbled section of this year’s Binche – Chimay – Binche / Mémorial Frank Vandenbroucke, to give the Czech Road Champion enough of a gap to clinch the victory.
Stybar had no problem maintaining his advantage over the peloton through the rough cobbles, and went into the final few hundred meters with enough time to sit up and celebrate his victory. Meanwhile, John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) was 2nd, and Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Belisol) was 3rd.
Terpstra and Thomas De Gendt had also been in a late breakaway that came back together with 5.8km to go in the race. Terpstra sat up when he saw the peloton approaching, and saved his energy for the crucial leadout of Stybar.
Stybar, completing his comeback after a bad crash at Eneco Tour earlier this season, earned the 64th road victory for OPQS (66th overall) in 2014.
"Niki told me that he would go full gas going into the cobbles so that I could go for a good result, and I have to thank him for the beautiful teamwork today," Stybar said. "After my crash at Eneco Tour my shape is not 100 percent, but I feel I’m always improving. This is really great to win, because this is the first time since my crash that I’m in a good way condition wise. It was almost a relief after a hard period these last weeks. Since the World Championship I finally started to feel better. But my condition still had to improve. I’m really happy I could win one race before the winter begins. As for the finale today, we knew that there was John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and some fast guys in the group hoping for the sprint. So, why not, we wanted to try and be protagonists and see what could happen. Niki and the whole team did a great job. They rode strong all day.
"Thomas De Gendt spent almost the whole race in front, and Martin Velits and Stijn Vandenbergh also made it into the breakaway. They were really strong, those guys, and I’m proud to finish the job and add to the OPQS win total. I think once we started winning at the beginning of the season everyone has been motivated until the end. We had so many riders with at least one win this year, it’s incredible. Plus we always have a nice group with a great atmosphere, which really made the difference. We have a great team spirit that has been apparent all season. Now I look forward to prolonging my 2014 season with a couple cyclocross races, which is always something I love to do. We will see how I can carry this good momentum."
Top 10 Finishers
1 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
3 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
5 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
6 Oliver Naesen (Bel) Lotto Belisol
7 Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Belisol
9 Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
10 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
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