Dwars door Vlaanderen: Christophe Laporte continues winning streak, Neilson Powless podiums
Early attack containing Alexander Kristoff almost makes it to the finish.
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Christophe Laporte added another victory to his growing palmarès, soloing to success at Dwars door Vlaanderen.
The Frenchman attacked from a select group of riders with just under four kilometers to go, accelerating away from the other riders while in his saddle. He quickly built up an unbeatable lead to add to the Gent-Wevelgem win he took Sunday.
Oier Lazkano (Movistar) and Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) tried to track down Laporte, but couldn’t reel in the flying Jumbo-Visma man. However, they held off a stern chase from the group behind to round off the podium spots with Lazkano taking second and Powless going into third after riding an aggressive race.
Much has been said about Laporte being gifted the win at Gent-Wevelgem by his teammate Wout van Aert, but there was no doubt who was the strongest heading into Waregem. With teammate Tiesj Benoot for help, he was able to bide his time perfectly and save his energy for the final dig to the line.
“It was a difficult day, but a great day. The team did a great job and I’m very happy to win again,” Laporte said. “We were strong on the climbs and we made the selection on the climbs. There was a good collaboration in the group. My condition is good, I’ve been training well and we have an amazing team.”
It was a frenetic day of racing in the Flemish Ardennes. Despite the chance for a sprint at the finish, Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X) decided to go up the road in the early breakaway with five others, including Lazkano.
Having already endured a challenging spring campaign, Soudal Quick-Step’s cobbled classics went from bad to worse as Tim Merlier hit the deck on a climb and never made it back to the main group.
At almost exactly the same time, Julian Alaphilippe was trying to push the pace and split the group up, but the Frenchman dropped his chain and had to slow to fix the problem before he could get going again.
Jumbo-Visma dominated the final climbs of the day with Benoot setting a tough pace and making several attacks. His efforts cut down the group and with just under 50 kilometers to go there were just eight riders in the main group of favorites.
Up the road, Kristoff and Lazkano were the last of the break to survive and still held a small advantage with around 30km remaining. They would hold on all the way to the five-kilometer mark after hovering just off the front of the chase for several kilometers.
The attacks didn’t stop when the catch was made and Benoot and Mikkel Honoré (EF Education-EasyPost) attempted to get clear before Laporte made his race-winning move. There was no immediate chase, but Lazkano and Powless soon set out together to try and bridge the gap.
In the end, Laporte had a 15-second advantage over the chasing duo as he crossed the line.
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