photo credit @ Twitter
Alexander Kristoff won this year’s Tour of Flanders today, with a final acceleration that bested fellow breakaway companion Niki Terpstra.
Meanwhile, Greg Avermaet rounded out the podium in third, after bringing home what remained of the chase group.
Kristoff and Terpstra succeeded in riding clear of the peloton after the climb of the Kruisberg. And, despite never holding anything more than a 30 second advantage over the chase, the duo managed to remain out front until the finish.
“I’m really happy to win, it’s a really good feeling,” Kristoff said. “My family is here today, and it was a big dream and my big goal this season and I managed to do it.
“At the end, I came with Niki, and he didn’t really want to work with me, but I understand that. In the end I could still beat him.”
Kristoff is the first Norwegian to win the Tour of Flanders.
A protest from local farmers briefly delayed the start of this year’s race in Bruges.
However, after 20 kilometers of racing, a breakaway group containing Jesse Sergent (Trek Factory Racing), Damien Gaudin (AG2R), Ralf Matzka (Bora), Matthew Brammeier (MTN Qhubeka), Clément Venturini (Cofidis) and Dylan Groenewegen (Roompot Oranje Peloton), managed to ride clear of the peloton.
From there, Clément Venturini (Cofidis) briefly took to the front before being spit out by the breakaway group, and back into the clutches of the peloton.
Back in the peloton, Lars Ytting Bak (Lotto-Soudal) and Marco Frapporti (Androni) managed to bridge themselves to the five escapees, to create a lead group of seven. And, from there, they went on to open up a seven minute advantage over the chase.
As the race tackled the first climbs of the day, the escapees’s gap began to fall.
Back in the chase, Bradley Wiggins was the first casualty of the day. However, the British rider was able to remount and rejoin the race just before the first ascent of the Oude Kwaremont.
A series of counter-attacks occurred during the first of three loops near Oudenaarde, with André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) capturing most of the spotlight. At the same time, Luca Paolini, Peter Sagan, John Degenkolb and Filippo Pozzato all fell victim to flat tires. However, all of them managed to regain lost ground with the peloton.
Shortly thereafter, chaos struck the peloton again, when a Shimano service car tried to overtake the lead group, sideswiping Jesse Sergent, and forcing the Australian rider to abandon the race.
As the race reached Schorisse, there was another incident involving race vehicles, wherein a Shimano car struck the back of the FDJ team car, which cause it to take down one of its own riders.
Back up front, Bak and Gaudin managed to distance their breakaway companions on the climb of the Kaperij.
Back in chase, Belgian champion Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal) led the peloton over the climb, wherein the breakaway group was finally caught at the top of the ascent.
From there, Greipel once again tried to ride clear just before the Koppenberg, while several riders, such as Wiggins got dropped.
In the meantime, Devolder and Thomas took up the task of leading the peloton, quickly bring Greipel back into he fold.
Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) was the next rider to attack following the Koppenberg, subsequently opening up a gap of half a minute over the main field, while Greipel and Chavanel tried their luck as well, but to no avail.
With 36 kilometers remaining, Terpstra and Van Avermaet attacked on the Taaienberg, taking Kristofff and a sizable group of riders with them.
As the race entered the third and final loop, Lutsenko again went on the attack, taking Van Avermaet and Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida) with him. However, the trio was caught just before reaching the Kruisberg.
Entering the final loop, 26 riders formed the lead group.
It was then that Tersptra and Kristoff decided to attack, leaving the group struggling to regain ground.
Vanmarcke was the most noticeable rider trying to bridge himself to the two escapees after the Kruisberg. But, the Belgian rider was unable to make contact.
With Terpstra and Kristoff clear, Giant-Alpecin, Lotto Soudal, Team Sky and BMC to led the chase in earnest. And, at one point, it looked as though they might be able to catch them.
However, the two leaders were irretrievable at that point.
Tour of Flanders 2015 Results
1 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
2 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx – Quick-Step
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
5 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6 Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team
7 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
8 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step
10 Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling
You must be logged in to post a comment.