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A perfectly timed attack from Zdenek Stybar saw the Czech rider open the classics season with a win for Deceuninck-Quick-Step, Saturday. Stybar attacked from a select lead group of five with three kilometers to go, leaving Greg Van Avermaet legless and unable to follow having done so much work in the final stages of the race. The CCC rider led home the chasers to take second, while Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) took third.
“I had a good feeling all day, but of course you never know,” said Stybar. “It was a very strong break, but I still had teammates in the group behind, and I could benefit from that.”
The 200km opening cobbled classic of the season got underway under grey, drizzly skies. A breakaway quartet of Alex Howes (EF-Education First), Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Roy Jans (Corendon-Circus) and Tom Wirtgen (Wallonie-Bruxelles) went clear in the first 15km, quickly gaining up to 14 minutes on the peloton. It wasn’t until midway through the race that the bunch began the chase, and soon started cutting the advantage.
The attacks in the peloton kick-started on 80km remaining, by which point the lead quartet’s advantage was down to under five minutes. A chase group formed of over 20 riders, including dangermen Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale), Ian Stannard (Team Sky), and Stybar, and gained over two minutes on the bunch before being winched in. The surge in pace in the peloton cut the lead quartet’s gap significantly.
With just over 40km remaining, an attack from Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) pulled a select group clear momentarily, including Van Avermaet and Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), however, the peloton soon pulled the threat back.
As the bergs that pepper the back half of the race started coming thick and fast, the lead quartet splintered, leaving just Planckaert and Devriendt at the head of the race.
The first meaningful split in the bunch came on around 40km to go, which included several big names, including Stybar, Van Avermaet, Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal), Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) and Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step). However, several big names missed the cut, including Sep Vanmarcke (EF-Education First) and Quick-Step pair Gilbert and Bob Jungels.
Keen to distance dangermen such as Vanmarcke, the lead group pushed the advantage and soon swallowed up lone breakaway man Devriendt. Van Avermaet was forced into doing a lot of the work in the lead group as other riders were wary of the Belgian’s sprint.
Behind, the peloton splintered into several groups, with Team Sky’s Owain Doull pulling hard on the front. Quick-Step trio Jungels, Gilbert and Lampaert stifled the chase, working for Stybar.
As the race sped up and the fatigue of the climbs accumulated, the lead group started to fracture, and only six riders – Oss, Van Avermaet, Stybar, Wellens, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), and Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) – remained in the lead on the run in to the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen. Oss was dropped in the steep pitches of the Muur however, leaving only five out front.
Once all the climbs had been completed and with only the flat run in to Ninove to go, the leader five had 25 seconds on the chasers.
The lead group started playing cat-and-mouse in the final stages, none willing to work on the front, waiting for the sprint. The stalemate was broken when Wellens attacked with 3km remaining, only to be neutralized by Van Avermaet.
Just as the leaders came together, Stybar attacked hard, leaving his breakaway companions looking at Van Avermaet to once again do the work and shut the flying Czech rider down. However, with only Lutsenko looking willing to help Van Avermaet, the hesitation from the chasers enabled Stybar to push home his advantage, crossing the line solo, taking the team’s first win at Omloop since Nick Nuyens won when the race was known as Omloop Het Volk in 2005.
Van Avermaet led home the sprint for second, nine seconds after Stybar, with Wellens taking third.
“I only heard the day before yesterday at the press conference that Quick-Step hadn’t won Omloop for 14 years, which was amazing,” Stybar said. “I am very happy that I could win here, for the team, but also for me. I was close to a victory like this last year and I’m happy to finally finish it off.”
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad ME Results
|1||ŠTYBAR Zdeněk||Deceuninck - Quick Step||4:53:17|
|2||VAN AVERMAET Greg||CCC Team||0:09|
|3||WELLENS Tim||Lotto Soudal||0:09|
|4||LUTSENKO Alexey||Astana Pro Team||0:09|
|5||TEUNS Dylan||Bahrain Merida||0:09|
|6||DRUCKER Jempy||BORA - hansgrohe||0:25|
|7||LAMPAERT Yves||Deceuninck - Quick Step||0:25|
|8||GILBERT Philippe||Deceuninck - Quick Step||0:25|
|10||NAESEN Oliver||AG2R La Mondiale||0:25|
|11||KEUKELEIRE Jens||Lotto Soudal||0:25|
|12||MATTHEWS Michael||Team Sunweb||0:25|
|13||VAN AERT Wout||Team Jumbo-Visma||0:25|
|14||VAN BAARLE Dylan||Team Sky||0:25|
|15||LANGEVELD Sebastian||EF Education First||0:25|
|16||JUNGELS Bob||Deceuninck - Quick Step||0:25|
|17||DE VREESE Laurens||Astana Pro Team||0:25|
|18||KÜNG Stefan||Groupama - FDJ||0:25|
|19||POLITT Nils||Team Katusha Alpecin||0:28|
|20||TERPSTRA Niki||Direct Energie||0:29|
|21||OSS Daniel||BORA - hansgrohe||0:30|
|22||DILLIER Silvan||AG2R La Mondiale||0:32|
|25||ROELANDTS Jürgen||Movistar Team||1:52|
|26||STANNARD Ian||Team Sky||1:52|
|27||DEVOLDER Stijn||Corendon - Circus||1:52|
|28||DOULL Owain||Team Sky||2:51|
|29||HOULE Hugo||Astana Pro Team||2:51|
|30||VAN POPPEL Danny||Team Jumbo-Visma||2:51|
|31||LAPORTE Christophe||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||4:16|
|32||DECLERCQ Benjamin||Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise||4:42|
|33||TEUNISSEN Mike||Team Jumbo-Visma||4:42|
|35||GARCÍA CORTINA Iván||Bahrain Merida||5:54|
|36||PLANCKAERT Edward||Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise||5:54|
|37||PHILIPSEN Jasper||UAE Team Emirates||5:54|
|38||COLBRELLI Sonny||Bahrain Merida||5:54|
|39||LE GAC Olivier||Groupama - FDJ||5:54|
|40||STUYVEN Jasper||Trek - Segafredo||5:54|
|41||CLAEYS Dimitri||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||5:54|
|42||DE BUYST Jasper||Lotto Soudal||6:17|
|43||DE BONDT Dries||Corendon - Circus||6:17|
|44||CAPIOT Amaury||Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise||6:17|
|45||VALGREN Michael||Team Dimension Data||6:17|
|46||VAN POPPEL Boy||Roompot - Charles||6:17|
|47||DEVRIENDT Tom||Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team||6:17|
|48||MEURISSE Xandro||Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team||6:17|
|49||LIGTHART Pim||Direct Energie||6:17|
|50||VAN LERBERGHE Bert||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||6:17|
|51||MULLEN Ryan||Trek - Segafredo||6:17|
|52||BOASSON HAGEN Edvald||Team Dimension Data||6:17|
|53||THEUNS Edward||Trek - Segafredo||6:17|
|54||SINKELDAM Ramon||Groupama - FDJ||6:17|
|55||VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume||CCC Team||6:17|
|56||DE GENDT Aimé||Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team||6:17|
|57||KONOVALOVAS Ignatas||Groupama - FDJ||6:17|
|58||HOWES Alex||EF Education First||6:17|
|59||PEDERSEN Casper||Team Sunweb||6:17|
|60||VANDENBERGH Stijn||AG2R La Mondiale||6:17|
|61||SPRENGERS Thomas||Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise||6:17|
|62||PHINNEY Taylor||EF Education First||6:17|
|63||BOHLI Tom||UAE Team Emirates||6:17|
|64||HOLLENSTEIN Reto||Team Katusha Alpecin||6:17|
|65||TURGIS Anthony||Direct Energie||6:17|
|66||VLIEGEN Loïc||Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team||6:17|
|68||VERVAEKE Louis||Team Sunweb||6:17|
|69||BARBERO Carlos||Movistar Team||6:17|
|70||PETIT Adrien||Direct Energie||6:17|
|71||WIŚNIOWSKI Łukasz||CCC Team||6:17|
|72||DEBUSSCHERE Jens||Team Katusha Alpecin||6:17|
|73||KNEES Christian||Team Sky||6:17|
|74||TOUZÉ Damien||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||6:17|
|75||ARCAS Jorge||Movistar Team||6:17|
|76||JANSSENS Jimmy||Corendon - Circus||6:23|
|77||VAN GINNEKEN Sjoerd||Roompot - Charles||6:23|
|79||ROOSEN Timo||Team Jumbo-Visma||6:23|
|80||BOOM Lars||Roompot - Charles||6:23|
|81||DUCHESNE Antoine||Groupama - FDJ||6:23|
|82||PÖSTLBERGER Lukas||BORA - hansgrohe||6:23|
|83||BETANCUR Carlos||Movistar Team||6:23|
|84||VAN HOECKE Gijs||CCC Team||6:23|
|85||KOREN Kristijan||Bahrain Merida||6:23|
|86||VAN DER HOORN Taco||Team Jumbo-Visma||6:23|
|88||PIBERNIK Luka||Bahrain Merida||6:27|
|89||WYNANTS Maarten||Team Jumbo-Visma||6:27|
|90||CORT Magnus||Astana Pro Team||6:27|
|91||SCULLY Tom||EF Education First||6:27|
|92||VANMARCKE Sep||EF Education First||6:27|
|93||GAUDIN Damien||Direct Energie||6:27|
|94||DUVAL Julien||AG2R La Mondiale||8:36|
|95||DENZ Nico||AG2R La Mondiale||8:36|
|96||BACKAERT Frederik||Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team||8:36|
|97||GODON Dorian||AG2R La Mondiale||8:36|
|98||BOLE Grega||Bahrain Merida||8:36|
|102||VAN HECKE Preben||Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise||8:36|
|103||DECLERCQ Tim||Deceuninck - Quick Step||8:36|
|104||BRESCHEL Matti||EF Education First||8:36|
|105||PEDERSEN Mads||Trek - Segafredo||8:36|
|106||JANS Roy||Corendon - Circus||8:36|
|107||EENKHOORN Pascal||Team Jumbo-Visma||8:36|
|108||HOFSTETTER Hugo||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||8:36|
|109||KIRSCH Alex||Trek - Segafredo||8:36|
Results provided by ProCyclingStats.