Alexander Kristoff produced a great escape from an elite group of sprinters and escape specialists to win this rainy classic.
There was a lot of pressure on Quickstep ahead of this one so it was surprising that they managed to miss the big crosswind split (it went near that tunnel you drive through on the way to Amsterdam!).
There was a bit of a chase but with some considerable distance to race there were some commitment issues in the group behind meaning Fabio Jakobsen was stranded and the mini Quickstep classics drought was set to go on.
Sam Bennett of Bora now looked a nailed on for the win but started to drift off the back as the cold and wet started to set in. His team mates tried to rally him but as with last years Gent-Wevelgem, when Bennett was tired, he was dropped.
The onus moved on to Alpecin who had managed to get both of their days sprinters, Jasper Philipsen and Tim Merlier in the move but with an attacking run in (maybe due to the riders wanting to get in from the cold!) it was Kristoff who made his acceleration stick.
There was a pursuit of sorts but the breakaway starting to fold in on their self and the Norwegian was away.
It was a brilliantly executed moment and his celebratory ride down the finishing straight was the Kristoff of old. It was brilliant.
So with all the new guard winning left, right and centre, this was a moment for us oldies.
|1||KRISTOFF Alexander||Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux||200||125||4:06:02|
|2||VAN POPPEL Danny||BORA – hansgrohe||150||85||0:24|
|3||WELSFORD Sam||Team DSM||125||60||,,|
|4||VAN UDEN Casper||Team DSM||100||50||0:26|
|5||THEUNS Edward||Trek – Segafredo||85||45||,,|
|7||MCLAY Daniel||Team Arkéa Samsic||60||35||,,|
|10||MULLEN Ryan||BORA – hansgrohe||35||22||,,|