Overview

Niki Terpstra triumphs on a phenomenal way in 102nd Tour of Flanders

3 April 2018

The weather gods were not really good to the cycling fans this year. No wonderful morning sun on this Easter Sunday, but occasionally a local shower. The public did not let themselves be put off by that, because in large numbers they came down to the Grand Place in Antwerp. Studio Brussel is once again making an opening party, the riders left the start good-humored for a race of 264.7 kilometers.

Despite the rain, the pace was immediately very high in the initial phase. The traditional flight of the day took a long time and that caused stress in the peloton. The biggest victim of this was Sep Vanmarcke who, in the run-up to the Flemish Ardennes, fell two times.

After 70 km eleven riders took the lead. Three Belgians: Aimé De Gendt (Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise), Dimitri Peyskens (WB - Aqua Protect Veranclassic) and Michael Goolaerts (Veranda’s Willems - Crelan). Marco Haller (Katusha - Alpecin), Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data), Iván García (Bahrain - Merida), Jimmy Turgis (Cofidis) and Filippo Ganna (UAE Team Emirates) were also part of the leading group. Finally, the Netherlands were also represented with three riders (Lighthart and Gerts from Roompot and Eenkhoorn from LottoNL-Jumbo), a forerunner of what would become a Dutch high day.

After the song of the eleven leaders was sung, three riders took over. Again two Dutch people. Dylan Van Baarle (Sky), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Sebastian Langeveld (EF-Drapac) attacked just before the Koppenberg and held the lead for a while. Before that, the race was really nervous, but without big consequences. Naesen crashed, but he was able to reconnect. The other Belgians, with Tiesj Benoot and Wout Van Aert, had already shown themselves very eagerly.

Despite a strong piece from Greg Van Avermaet on the Taaienberg, it was the Kruisberg that would make the decision this year. From a little group of remaining favorites, Nibali jumped forward. Terpstra reacted quickly and went over the Italian at 26 km from the finish in Oudenaarde.

Those who thought that the favorites at the last time Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg would catch up with the Dutchman, were disappointed. The favorites looked at each other and so the bird was gone. Terpstra showed his class and caught his two fellow countrymen on the Oude Kwaremont. Only the very young Mads Pedersen offered some resistance, but nobody could follow the strong Dutchman of Quick-Step.

When Terpstra took 45 seconds, Peter Sagan thought it was okay. The world champion gave his all in the intermediate to the last time Paterberg, but the world champion couldn't keep the high speed and fell back to the group of favorites. In the meantime, Terpstra rode very hard towards Oudenaarde. On the tones of "Gaan met die banaan" (Go with that banana) a very happy Dutchman crossed the finish line solo. The strong Mads Pedersen stayed before the peloton and finished second, Philippe Gilbert completed the party with a third place.

Terpstra and Gilbert once again highlight the dominance of Quick-Step Floors. The "wolf pack", the nickname given to Patrick Lefevere's riders, took his 21st victory of the season with the victory in the Tour of Flanders. And Niki Terpstra, may call himself the Tour of Flanders king for a year.

 

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