[02.03 17:43] Three opportunistic riders, Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise), James Vanlandschoot (Accent Jobs – Wanty) and Christoph Pfingsten (Cyclingteam De Rijke) launched an early breakaway to steal some time in the limelight on today’s 175.4 kilometer long first stage of the Belgian stage race, Drieddaagse van West-Vlaandern between Brugge and Haralbeke.
But the escapees were brought back to the chasing field lead by Omega-Pharma Quick Step with 15 kilometers to go and even though a few riders launched a couple of daring counter-attacks, the stage were to be decided in a bunch sprint.
On the finish line, Danilo Napolitano (Accent Jobs) was the fastest rider while Kristoff Vandewalle (Omega-Pharma Quick Step) retained his overall lead of the race.
Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Steven de Jongh explains:
”Johnny (Cantwell) was in good position in the finale but he lost a few bike lenghts just as he was about to open the sprint and then the stage was pretty much over. Unfortunately, Noval, Takashi and Juul-Jensen were involved in a big crash along the way but they all managed to complete the stage. Tomorrow, we’re probably facing another sprint. However, the finale is a bit more up and down than today and that could cause a stir among the sprinters,” says Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Steven de Jongh.
The race finishes tomorrow.