Van Dijk tunes up for Tour of Flanders with solo Dwars door Vlaanderen win

Sunweb on form ahead of key cobbled classic

Ellen van Dijk and Sunweb tuned up for Sunday's Tour of Flanders with a dominant solo win at Dwars door Vlaanderen

Van Dijk added to her Omloop van het Hageland victory at the mid-week race, and now has two wins on Belgian soil in 2018. Top-10 results at Strade Bianche and the Ronde van Drenthe WorldTour races earlier this month further underline her successful start to the season.

The 31-year-old launched her solo move with six kilometres to go until the finish line in Waregem, and by the time she raised her arms in triumph the winning margin was 55 seconds. Boels Dolmans' Amy Pieters finished second after winning the sprint in the chasing group with Floortje Mackaij ensuring a second Team Sunweb rider on the podium.

"Today was a great race for the team. It's really great to see how we turned things around after our bad luck this season," Van Dijk said. "Today was really a textbook race, and we did everything that we had planned to. The girls were always really well positioned and setting a hard pace on the climbs. Me and Floortje were in the seven-rider break, and with 15 kilometres to go we just attacked and attacked, maybe 10 times in total.

"With six kilometres to go Floortje attacked, and I went directly after. I opened up a gap and gave it everything I had. The win is a great way to finish this perfect team work and with Floortje also finishing third, the day couldn't have gone any better. It gives us good confidence with Sunday in our minds."

Prior to this year's spring campaign, Van Dijk hadn't won in Belgium since her 2014 Tour of Flanders victory. She now has two wins in the heartland of cycling. For coach Hans Timmermans, the result was the end product of a complete performance and he believed that it was the perfect tune-up for the Tour of Flanders. Particularly with defending champion Coryn Rivera to be added to the squad.

"We did a fantastic job as a team today, all six riders did their job close to perfection," Timmermans said. "Julia and Pernille's position was great towards the Kruisberg, and Ruth and Liane did a fantastic job pacing up the Kruisberg and also the Trieu after that. From then on it was Floortje and Ellen who made the difference on the Trieu.

"They did an amazing job to be in the break with the two of them, and for Floortje it's something new to be up there in the final, which is great. We attacked time and time again in the final 15 kilometres and in the end no one could follow. It shows how strong the team is before Flanders and we are also ready to go for a fantastic result in that race as well."

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