Dutchman Bobbie Traksel (P3 Transfer-Batavus) snatched the overall classification in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen from Niko Eeckhout (Topsport Vlaanderen) with a victory on the final stage. Traksel and Eeckhout were seven and nine seconds down on leader Yauheni Hutarovich (Française des Jeux) after the penultimate stage, but the tough final stage saw the race fall to pieces. Hutarovich ultimately finished more than 11 minutes down on the winner, in 23rd overall.
"This is a big deal for a small team like ours," 26 year-old Traksel told Belgian news website Sport Wereld. "Before the start I promised a stage win and the overall classification. Promises create debt. When an elite group of riders containing Eeckhout, (Wouter) Weylandt, (Janek) Tombak and (Roger) Hammond rode away in the hills, the team worked brilliantly.
"In the final I made the jump to the leaders, I came up to them quickly and saw that it wasn't going so well for Ivanov and Eeckhout," he added. "In the sprint Niko, who was sprinting in the 11, had no chance. I was riding a much smaller gear. Thanks has to go to Patrick Sercu, who helped me do a lot of work on the track over the winter."
The Dutch rider's rivals were impressed with his efforts. "I never saw Traksel coming," a surprised Eeckhout said. "Of course it hurts to miss out on a second overall classification."
"My condition is coming to a peak, so I am happy about that," he added. "I was sick at Het Volk, which ruined a good opening Flemish weekend. In these three days I achieved the level I wanted."
Kenny De Haes (Topsport Vlaanderen) took the sprints classification, making sure that Belgium was not left with nothing, in a race that was otherwise dominated by foreigners.