Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and the rest of the peloton were in for yet another rainy stage in BinckBank Tour this Thursday. At the end, Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) took the win, while Ryan Gibbons sprinted to 12th place.
Already from the start of the day, it was clear to see that the sprinters were very eager not to let this last opportunity for a bunch sprint slip away. Many riders tried to attack but at the end, only three were allowed to get away. However, despite the size of the front group, the pack never let the gap exceed three minutes.
The breakaway never really stood a chance and soon after the riders took on the last lap in Lanaken, it all came back together again. The peloton kept a high pace but it didn’t prevent a few riders from trying their luck in the last kilometers. Yves Lampaert (Quick Step Floors) managed to get a good gap on the peloton but on the last few hundred meters, he too got caught and the sprinters ended up fighting for the win as expected.
Ultimately, Theuns turned out to be the strongest, while Gibbons finished just outside of Top10. Stefan Küng (BMC Racing Team) still leads overall before the race enters its new phase tomorrow. The final three stages of BinckBank Tour all bear resemblances to races in the spring campaign. Friday’s stage takes place on roads known from Amstel Gold Race, favoring the best puncheurs in the peloton.
“The final was very treacherous. A lot of the top sprinters, like Viviani and Kittel, didn’t even compete. Unfortunately, I had to chase back with one lap to go after getting a rain jacket stuck in my wheel, while Reinie [Janse van Rensburg] had to chase back due to a late puncture. The peloton was stretched out and we were playing catch-up to get back. We finally got back to the front just before the last right-hand corner. Once again, the finish was very chaotic and I lost a few positions. I’m glad I at least got to see the sprint this time but I’m disappointed I couldn’t really take part and do more”.