Hold the front page! Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s lacklustre spring campaign regained it’s sparkle as Remco Evenepoel claimed La Doyenne on his race debut. The 22 year-old made his bid with a ferocious attack at the summit of La Redoute with 29km to go. No one could hold his wheel for long enough, no one could organise an effective chase and no one could stop the inevitable solo victory. Quentin Hermans, yes you read that right!!!! , took the sprint for 2nd place for the effervescent Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert, with the man-who-refused-to-stay-dropped – Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) – claiming third step on the all Belgian podium. An awful high speed crash with 60km to go left many riders with their race ambitions in tatters and a heavy fall for world champion Julian Alaphilippe.
Who would have thought that the team of the spring classics would be Ineos Grenadiers? But they’ve been burning up the parcours over the past few weeks and they bagged the biggest Classic of them all, Paris-Roubaix. In a race that didn’t follow any of the usual playbooks, Dylan van Baarle kept the faith and arrived at the velodrome alone to take a solo win, posting up the race’s fastest time ever. Second place went to Wout van Aert and third to Stefan Kung. I’ve tried to piece it together for you although I found it impossible to describe just how chaotic the whole day was.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) took his second Tour of Flanders in a doozy of a breathless sprint showdown, holding off Dylan van Baarle (INEOS Grenadiers) and a charging Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ). All three riders outwitted Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) – the man who made all the right moves on the cobbled climbs of his debut Tour of Flanders, only to finish fourth. How, just how???