Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen: Late crash takes out Gibbons

Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep-Floors) won the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen, sprinting to victory just ahead of Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Soudal).

The Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen saw riders take on 16 laps of a 12.6km circuit around Koolskamp today. It was a flat and fast circuit which had the sprinters interested from the gun. Our African Team had placed its hopes on the shoulders of young Ryan Gibbons today for the finale.

7 riders got away in the early break of the day but on such a flat and fast course, it was easy for the sprint teams to control the gap. We had Adrien Niyonshuti doing a great job early on, setting the pace with a rider from Lotto-Soudal and Quickstep. As the laps whittled away so did the gap to the break, thanks largely to an injection of pace provided by Johann van Zyl at the head of the peloton.

With a single lap to go, the break was caught and Nic Dougall moved to the front to position our sprint train of Bernie Eisel, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Mark Renshaw and Ryan Gibbons. Like clockwork, Dougall pulled off after his turn on the front, then Eisel and it all looked to be going to plan for our African Team with 2km to go.

Flanked by the Lotto-Soudal train on our right and the Quickstep train on our left, a lone Leopard rider then got in the way and as he took a shoulder from a Quickstep rider, his overreaction sandwiched Gibbons and caused our young South African to go down hard. Janse van Rensburg and Renshaw then had to do the final without our protected rider and our Australian leadout man crossed the line in 12th. A disappointing end after a solid day of teamwork by our guys.

JP Heynderickx – Sport Director
The team was really good today. Unfortunately, Mark Cavendish was not well but we had a good plan around Ryan Gibbons and I think the team showed that they worked really well together. It is really unfortunate for Ryan, he was in a great position and a top result was definitely on the cards. It’s a pity to come away with nothing after the team worked so well but we are happy Ryan is okay, and tomorrow is another opportunity.