RadioShack’s Jesse Sergent won the Three Days of West Flanders on Sunday.
Nico Eeckhout (AnPost-Sean Kelly) won the final 195.5km stage from Middelkerke to Ichtegem ahead of Jimmy Casper (Saur-Sojasun) and Dominique Rollin (Française des Jeux).
The three had been part of a 21-man break that escaped just 25km into the day’s labors — a group that also contained the top three on GC, Sergent and his teammates Sébastien Rosseler and Michal Kwiatkowski.
“It’s always better to be in the front than to chase the whole day, but that was not really my intention,” the 22-year-old Sergent said on the team website. “I was just in the front to stay safe as we knew from (director) Dirk Demol that, with all that wind, the peloton would split up in many parts. I didn’t want to be surprised.
“I never thought that we would stay in the front for 175 K but we did because (Nélson) Oliveira, Rosseler and Kwiatkowski worked so hard for me today. It’s unreal what they did. It’s unreal what I have now too. I just won my first stage race as a pro rider.”
The hard work paid off as RadioShack swept the overall podium, with Sergent taking the win ahead of teammates Rosseler and Kwiatkowski.
Said Demol: “I cannot describe how proud I am of all these young guys. Don’t forget, for all of them it’s the first time they do a race in Flanders with narrow, windy and slippery roads. After our demonstration in the prologue, the other 24 teams, including seven other World Tour teams, didn’t give us any gifts. We had to work for it the entire three days.”
Sergent will now return to New Zealand to prepare for the UCI track world championships March 26 in Holland.
- 1. Niko Eeckhout (Bel), An Post-Sean Kelly Team, 4:31:24
- 2. Jimmy Casper (Fra), Saur-Sojasun, s.t.
- 3. Dominique Rollin (Can), Française Des Jeux, s.t.
- 4. Bert De Backer (Bel), Skil-Shimano, s.t.
- 5. Sébastien Chavanel (Fra), Europcar, s.t.
- 1. Jesse Sergent (Nzl), Team RadioShack, 8:33:02
- 2. Sébastien Rosseler (Bel), Team RadioShack, at 0:10
- 3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol), Team RadioShack, at 0:10
- 4. Dominique Rollin (Can), Française Des Jeux, at 0:15
- 5. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra), Française Des Jeux, at 0:18