Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka did well to put Ryan Gibbons in a good position for the final on stage 3 of BinckBank Tour. Unfortunately, Gibbons crashed in the last corner before getting a chance to launch his sprint.
After Tuesday’s time trial, the sprinters were expected to have their say on today’s flat stage from Blankenberge to Ardooie. Five riders attacked from the beginning of the day but the teams of the sprinters never allowed the quintet a gap of much more than three minutes. In fact, the pace in the peloton were so high that the gap went down to just 15 seconds with over 50 km to go. The pack then took it easy again, letting the break get away once again.
However, the bunch sprint was never in jeopardy and with 6.5 km to left to go it was all back together again. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were always well-positioned near the front of the peloton, keeping Gibbons in contention. The South African neo-pro has had an impressive first season with the team and he was eager to put in another strong performance today. Unfortunately, Gibbons had to see his chances of success disappear when a late crash took him out in the last corner. Luckily, he was able to get back on his bike and finish the stage.
Peter Sagan (BORA – hansgrohe) sprinted to victory, while Reinardt Janse van Rensburg crossed the line in 17th place after narrowly avoiding the crash. Stefan Küng (BMC Racing Team) still leads the race overall. On paper, tomorrow’s stage is another chance for the sprinters to fight for glory.
“I had a mechanical problem with 15 km to go and I only got back to the peloton with 7 km left. Renshaw and Janse van Rensburg put me in a good position for the final but it was wet and really chaotic at the end. I lost a few positions in the last two slippery corners and I went down. I’m really disappointed. I think my legs were very good today and the guys really did a good job to support me”.