BinckBank Tour: Philipsen triumphs in opening stage after chaotic final
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 4:47 PM
The opening stage of the BinckBank Tour was won by Jasper Philipsen. The Belgian from UAE Emirates turned out to be the fastest sprinter on the streets of Ardooie. Philipsen managed to floor Mads Pedersen and Pascal Ackermann after a chaotic final with an ultimate jump.
The BinckBank Tour started in Blankenberge today. From there, the route wound south to the local lap through and around Ardooie, then completed three more laps of 15.6 kilometers. It was looking forward to a first sprint confrontation between fast men like Pascal Ackermann, Tim Merlier and former world champion Mads Pedersen.
Robeet and Willems are the early escape
The go-ahead was given at 1.30 pm and soon Ludovic Robeet (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles) and Thimo Willems (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) managed to cycle together a nice bonus. The lead of the two Belgians increased to a maximum of three minutes in drizzly circumstances. In the peloton we saw riders from NTT Pro Cycling, CCC and BORA-hansgrohe checking things out.
In the supply, the peloton was startled by a crash by the Colombian Brandon Rivera and the French sprinter Clément Venturini, but both riders were soon back on their bikes. There was little else to do in this opening ride to Ardooie. The refugees were kept on a leash by the peloton and we seemed to be heading for a bunch sprint.
With thirty kilometers to go, Robeet and Willems drove a minute ahead of the peloton, ten kilometers further the breakaway was worth it. In the meantime, a few riders went to the ground again, but the fallen drivers were quickly straight again this time. In the peloton, the riders were preparing for the Golden Kilometer in which bonuses could be earned in three sprints.
The Dutch champion and top favorite for the overall victory, Mathieu van der Poel, was on his toes and managed to grab three bonus seconds in the first sprint. In the second and third sprint, Mike Teunissen and Yves Lampaert crossed the line first. After that last sprint there was a moment of calm in the peloton and Adrien Petit and Amund Grøndahl Jansen were able to take full advantage of that.
Regrouping is a fact, half the platoon is knocked down
The Frenchman and Noor started with a limited lead on the last lap in and around Ardooie, but managed to drive a little further away in the following kilometers. The difference amounted to fifteen seconds, reason enough for the Mitchelton-Scott men to increase the pace in the peloton. This turned out to be disastrous for Grøndahl Jansen and Petit’s chances of winning.
With nine kilometers to go, the two late attackers were caught and we could prepare for a mass sprint, although Sean De Bie still tried with an ultimate attack. The Belgian from Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles, however, was unable to continue his effort and was caught again with two kilometers to go. The peloton had now been halved by a massive crash.
Belgian champions Dries De Bondt, Koen de Kort, Oliver Naesen, Stijn Steels and Luke Durbrigde, among others, hit the asphalt. A first group (of about 40 riders) was able to continue and drove to the last kilometer at a fast pace. No team managed to organize an ideal lead-out, which gave us a chaotic sprint towards the finish.
Philipsen rushes to victory
The battle for the stage victory seemed to be between Ackermann and Pedersen, but it was Philipsen who managed to surprise the two fast men with an ultimate acceleration. This is his second victory of the season for the UAE Emirates rider. Pedersen had to settle for second place, Ackermann finished third and Danny van Poppel crossed the line fourth.
Mathieu van der Poel managed to reach the finish unscathed and even sprinted to ninth place. Then we had to wait for the fallen riders. Belgian champions Dries De Bondt and Naesen crossed the finish line together. The latter clearly had problems with his knee and was helped by De Bondt in the final kilometers.
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