Yves Lampaert (Etixx-QuickStep) won the first road stage at the 3 Days of West Flanders today. Tosh Vandersande (Lotto-Soudal) was 2nd and Sander Cordeel (Vastgoedservice) was 3rd. Lampaert also took over the overall race lead.
There was an original early break of 4 riders who enjoyed a lead of over 4 minutes. With 66km to go though, the peloton accelerated over the Oude Kwaremont, splitting the race up and reeling in the early leaders. It was then a group of 14 riders who surged clear but the peloton never gave them more than 25″ before 5 riders attacked the head group. Lampaert, Vandersande, Cordeel, Alexis Gougaerd (AG2R La Mondiale) and Mirko Selvaggi (Wanty Groupe Gobert) were the aggressors.
With 20km to go the 5 leaders only had 18″ on the peloton as Katusha led the chase. While the the main bunch did all they could to hunt the escapees down, it wasn’t to be the expected bunch sprint. In a nail biting finish Lampaert and the 4 other fugitives arrived at the line just seconds before the fast charging peloton to decide the stage.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had a frustrating end to the stage. The African team were looking to set up Tyler Farrar for the sprint finish when the American collided with a roadside traffic sign. Tyler was fortunate to not go down but all chances of a result were dashed after the collision.
J.P Heynderickx – Sport Director
There was an early break of 4 riders today. When the peloton hit the Oude Kwaremont there was an increase in pace and the bunch split all over the road. The early riders were caught with a new break of 5 riders forming. Katusha were controlling and we were pulling for Tyler in the finale. In the final kilometers Tyler hit a road sign, luckily he did not crash but that was the end of the stage for us. We will try again tomorrow and we will definitely be going for the victory.