Milram's young Niki Terpstra showed his tenacity Wednesday at the 63rd Dwars door Vlaanderen won by Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), who escaped for a solo win with nine kilometers to go. The Frenchman gave his former fellow escapees, eventual runner-up Steven De Jongh (Quick Step) and third-placed Niki Eeckhout (Topsport Vlaanderen) no chance.
"Niki was really strong today, and surprised me in a positive way, especially in the finale," said Jochen Hahn, Milram's Directeur Sportif. "He was very active all day. I had never figured that at the end he would be able on his own to catch up with the leading chase group."
The 17 hellingen along the 200 kilometers from Roeselare to Waregem provided chances for many attacks out of the peloton. Only in the last 30 kilometers did anyone escape – including the three who would get away for good. Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and last weekend's Milano-Sanremo winner Fabian Cancellara (CSC) were among the original break riders who did not stay away.
Behind the lead trio, Terpstra led the followers or attacked alone, to cut down the leader's advantage. His efforts were at first unsuccessful, but he didn't quit, and with 10km to go, he reached the group behind Chavanel and his two companions. Terpstra attacked repeatedly on the final kilometers in an attempt to avoid the sprint, but he was always caught and ended up finishing 12th at 32 seconds behind Chavanel.