I am not sure if I am just so grateful to have bike racing at all, that I am enjoying all it at the moment.
The RVV last Sunday was a case in point with drama and brilliant racing well into the last 50 metres of the event.
But before the big 3 favourites became the big 2 and slugged it out on the overpass running into Oudenaarde there was lots to admire.
The days early break were as strong and committed as you would want for a race of this stature. They went quite deep into the race which meant a full peloton behind them had to be mindful and aware of where they were on the course.
There were plenty of crashes which you don’t like to see, of course, leading to Sep Vanmarcke having to produce one of the rides of the day to get back on before the start of the finishing circuit.
As has been the case far too often over the years for Sep he was producing his best work behind the race rather than using that effort to go off the front and yet again it was a story of what might have been.
When the race winning move did go it was driven by the world champion Julian Alaphillippe who put the hammer down. Wout van Aert and Mathieu Van der Poel were alert to the danger and with Elegant/Quickstep and Jumbo/Visma the two big teams having riders in the move that was day done for the majority of riders.
There was one big twist to come with Alaphillippe riding into the back of a slowing race motorcycle before landing hard on those unforgiving Belgian roads.
We had a big debate in our house about the crash. The bike did slow but Alaphillippe wasn’t looking where he was going. He’d been scrolling through his Garmin a number of times looking for data and information and whilst the bike shouldn’t have been travelling at that speed as the breakaway caught it, you do have a level of responsibility to be looking where you are going.
This left the former ‘cyclo cross dominating duo’ alone together again for the final bergs.
After marking each other out of Gent Wevelgem last weekend they were always going to collaborate to make sure they go to the finish of this one and that they did.
The sprint was neck and neck with Van der Poel just getting the drop of his rival for a win full of emotion and drama.
Let’s hope that we only have to wait until April for the next edition.
|1||VAN DER POEL Mathieu||Alpecin-Fenix||500||275||5:43:17|
|2||VAN AERT Wout||Team Jumbo-Visma||400||200||,,|
|3||KRISTOFF Alexander||UAE-Team Emirates||325||150||0:08|
|4||TURGIS Anthony||Team Total Direct Energie||275||120||,,|
|5||LAMPAERT Yves||Deceuninck – Quick Step||225||100||,,|
|6||CLAEYS Dimitri||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||175||90||,,|
|7||NAESEN Oliver||AG2R La Mondiale||150||80||,,|
|8||VAN BAARLE Dylan||INEOS Grenadiers||125||70||,,|
|9||DEGENKOLB John||Lotto Soudal||100||60||,,|
|10||BENOOT Tiesj||Team Sunweb||85||50||,,|