Wallays wins Dwars door Vlaanderen

Topsport takes one-two as Theuns secures second

Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise took one-two at the Dwars door Vlaanderen with Jelle Wallays attacking a four-man breakaway with one kilometre to go and taking the victory, while his teammate Edward Theuns secured second place after winning the three-man sprint behind. Dylan Van Baarle (Cannondale-Garmin) and world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) were forced to settle for third and fourth, respectively.

Wallays' win was even more remarkable considering he was part of an earlier breakaway, and distanced his previous companions on the Eikenberg with 58km to go. Kwiatkowski bridged across to him after attacking on the Taaienberg, and pulled Theuns and Van Baarle along. The world champion did the lion's share of the work to establish the gap from a large chasing group, but fell victim to tactics in the end.

"I had lost quite a bit of strength from the early breakaway," Wallays said to Sporza. "My only chance was to connect with a small group. It was perfect that Edward (Theuns) was there."

Wallays, who won Paris-Tours last autumn, intended to sacrifice his efforts for Theuns, but when nobody chased his solo attack, he seized his chance for a top result. "I did not have as much strength left. In the last four kilometers I even had slight cramps. I really just wanted to get Edward in as good a position as possible.

"Edward felt very strong and he's super good lately. He's very quick, I am a bit slower. My only chance was with a late attack. Big thanks to Edward, because thanks to him we are 1 and 2."

"This is a very important victory for me. I would like to get into a World Tour team. With two big wins, I hope they will notice."

The four leaders’ gap was never secure, and undulated between 30 seconds and 1:12 minutes with 30km to go and three climbs remaining over the Paterberg, Hellestraat and the Nokereberg. With less than 10km to go, they had only half a minute on a strong chasing group, but the wind went out of the second group's sails when they realized they wouldn't close the gap in time.

Lotto Soudal's Tiesj Benoot, who did a huge amount of work in the chasing group for Belgian champion Jens Debusschere, regretted that he didn't get more help from the other chasers.

"If there was one or two men riding along like me, we could have closed the gap," Benoot said. "We should have followed, that was our fault. I don't understand why they wouldn't work. I think that they weren't good enough. "

Wallays still looked strong as he led Kwiatkowski, Van Baarle and Thuens over the final climb of the day, Nokereberg, with under eight kilometres to go. The leaders continued to rotate pulls up until three kilometres to go but they started to jockey for position as they neared the one-kilometre flag. It was Wallays who surprisingly made the first attack but neither Kwiatkowski or Van Baarle responded to the move.

As Wallays threw his arms up in a victory salute, his teammate Theuns put in a bid for second place and won the three-man sprint to the line, leaving Van Baarle with third and Kwiatkowski with fourth.

A frustrated world champion later said on Twitter, "Lesson from today... I need to remember that not everybody goes for the win. Some guys are content to be just 2nd!"

How it unfolded

It was a dreary day for the Dwars door Vlaanderen as the peloton started in Roeselare and looped back around to Waregem for 200km in cold, rain and overcast conditions… just what one would expect from a Belgian classic.

The peloton contested 12 hellingen including the Nieuwe Kwaremont (88km), Kattenberg (107km), Leberg (116km), Berendries (120km), Valkenberg (125km), Eikenberg (140), Taaienberg (144km), Oude-Kwaremont (162km), Paterberg (165km), Hellestraat (181km) and the Nokereberg (192km).

The race kicks off the start of the cobbled classics, and is just 10 days ahead of the next Monument, the Tour of Flanders on April 5. The riders started the day with enthusiastic attacks through the first portion of the race, however, there were also several crashes on the wet and slippery terrain.

IAM Cycling’s Jerome Pinaeu and Marcel Aregger were involved in an early crash, and while Pineau was able to get back up and make his way back to the field, Aregger was taken to hospital with more serious injuries.

Etixx-QuickStep lined up with a powerful team including two-time winner and defending champion Niki Terpstra but there were also three other past winners on the start line who aimed for another shot at the win including Oscar Gatto (Androni-Giocattoli), Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).

An initial breakaway with 11 riders formed with Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar), Joey Rosskopf (BMC), Sean De Bie (Lotto-Soudal), Tom Van Asbroeck (LottoNL-Jumbo), Sven Erik Bystrom (Katusha), Alexandre Pichot (Europcar), Guiseppe Fonzi (Southeast), Michael Reihs (Cult Energy), Jay Thomson (MTN-Qhubeka), Brian Van Gosthem (Roompot) and Vladimir Isaychev (Katusha).

The move was short-lived and pulled back into the field prompting a series of new attacks, which made way for a more successful breakaway with Wallays, Boris Dron (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Adrien Petit (Cofidis), Brian Van Goethem (Roompot), Gert Dockx (Lotto-Soudal), Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge), Mathias Brändle (IAM Cycling), Martin Mortenson (Cult Energy) and Ruben Zepuntke (Cannondale-Garmin), who later crashed and rode the rest of the race with torn shorts and exposed abrasions.

The nine riders opened a gap of 2:40 minutes at the halfway point of the race and increased it to over three minutes by the time they reached the Kattenberg. But the peloton reacted and ate into their time, leaving the escapees with only 20 seconds with 80km to go.

Alex Kirsch took advantage of the small gap and jumped across to the leaders but with the peloton so close behind the move was cut short and most of the breakaway riders were reabsorbed into the mix - with the exception of Wallays and Dockx, who continued on out front over the Eikenberg.

Wallays attacked his companion through the town of Eitkhove and managed to pick up an additional 35 seconds in a solo effort, however, the lone move seemed slightly ambitious with just under 60km to race.

The reduced peloton rolled over the Taaienberg where world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) put pressure on the field with a swift pace, he was joined by Theuns and Van Baarle, and it didn’t take long for the trio to catch Wallays and form a new lead group of four.

A larger chase group split in two but reunited as one with roughly 45km to go. It included Breschel, Nairo Quintana and Andrey Amador (Movistar), Lars Boom (Astana), Sven Erik Bystrom, Alexandre Kolobnev and Rudiger Selig (Katusha), Nikolas Maes (Etixx-QuickStep), Tiesj Benoot, Lars Bak and Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal), Marcus Berghardt and Jempy Drucker (BMC), Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis), Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing) and Bändle.
The chase wasn’t powerful or organized enough to bring the breakaway back, as Kwiatkowski pulled Van Baarle, Thuens and Wallays over the Kwaremont, building the gap out to roughly 40 seconds.

Behind, Boom made a move over the cobbled ascent and looked sure to bridge across to the leaders, however, his attempted was halted after he crashed into a farmer’s field. A few seconds later, Devolder crashed on the same patch of slippery road and rolled off to the ditch.

Quintana, who joined the race to gain experience on the cobbles ahead of the Tour de France this year, also lost contact with the group as he struggled on a stretch of cobbles.

By this time, Kwiatkowski, Van Baarle, Thuens and Wallays’ breakaway was established and working well together in an effort to get to the finish line ahead of the chase, which had reshuffled to include Nikolas Maes (Etixx-QuickStep) and his teammate Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Andrey Amador (Movistar), Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo), Jempy Drucker (BMC), Tiesj Benoot and Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal), Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis), former winner Oscar Gatto (Androni-Giocattoli) and Katusha riders Alexey Tsatevich and Vyacheslav Kuznetsov.

Kuznetsov tried to motivate the chase group with a small attack but no one took the bait and they let him go in pursuit of the breakaway riders with 10km to go.

No one skipped a turn until one kilometre to go when Wallays made his winning attack for the finish line in Waregem, and Kwiatkowski looked to Van Baarle to help chase, but the Cannondale-Garmin rider refused. Once in sight of the line, Kwiatkowski attempted to attack to catch Wallays but it was far too late, and he instead led out Theuns for a Topsport 1-2 with Van Baarle claiming the final podium spot.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise4:35:59 
2Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:00:02 
3Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
4Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:04 
5Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:20 
6Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:29 
7Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
8Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
9Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
10Aleksei Tcatevich (Rus) Team Katusha  
11Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team  
12Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
13Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team  
14Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha  
15Oscar Gatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
16Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Team Katusha0:04:46 
17Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
18Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step  
19Alexander Kolobnev (Rus) Team Katusha  
20Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step  
21Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
22Gedeminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale0:06:50 
23Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) IAM Cycling  
24Tom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
25Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Team Roompot  
26Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
27Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
28Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale  
29Tim Kerkhof (Ned) Team Roompot  
30Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
31Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
32Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Roompot  
33Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
34Michael Reihs (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
35Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Team Roompot  
36Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
37Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
38Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
39Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal  
40Oliver Naesen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
41Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
42Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN - Qhubeka  
43Stefan Kueng (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
44Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling  
45Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
46Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar  
47Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
48Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
49Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar  
50James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
51Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
52Tyler Farrar (USA) MTN - Qhubeka  
53Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
54Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing  
55Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
56Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
57Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
58Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
59Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
60Troels Ronning Vinther (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
61Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step  
62Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
63Marco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
64Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek Factory Racing  
65Iljo Keisse (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
66Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team  
67Mauro Finetto (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling  
68Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
69Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
70Vegard Breen (Nor) Lotto Soudal  
71Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
72Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
73Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:07:02 
74Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar  
75Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot  
76Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team  
77Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
78Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team  
79Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
80John Gadret (Fra) Movistar Team  
81Wesley Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot  
82Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge  
83Gert Steegmans (Bel) Trek Factory Racing  
84Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar Team  
85Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team  
86Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar Team  
87Jonas Ahlstrand (Swe) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
88Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team0:07:06 
89Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFRafael Andriato (Bra) Southeast Pro Cycling  
DNFMichael Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFAlessio Taliani (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFTiziano Dall´Antonia (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFJuraj Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFFabio Taborre (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFAlberto Nardin (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFMarcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
DNFCampbell Flakemore (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
DNFBoris Dron (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFGiacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFJesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFRohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMarco Benfatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli  
DNFDanny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFStijn Devolder (Bel) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFMirko Tedeschi (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling  
DNFIvar Slik (Ned) Team Roompot  
DNFBrian Van Goethem (Ned) Team Roompot  
DNFRasmus Christian Quaade (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFMads Pedersen (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFMartin Mortensen (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFAlex Kirsch (Lux) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFRussell Downing (GBr) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFEugert Zhupa (Alb) Southeast Pro Cycling  
DNFJakub Mareczko (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling  
DNFMaciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFLars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
DNFAndrea Dal Col (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling  
DNFAndrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DNFArman Kamyshev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFRuslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFRudiger Selig (Ger) Team Katusha  
DNFGiuseppe Fonzi (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling  
DNFFabian Wegmann (Ger) Cult Energy Pro Cycling  
DNFVladimir Isaychev (Rus) Team Katusha  
DNFMoreno Hofland (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFRick Flens (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFBertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFMike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFMaarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFNick Dougall (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFMaarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFJos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
DNFAlexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFMarco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha  
DNFMichael Hepburn (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFMatt Brammeier (Irl) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFAleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling  
DNFAlexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha  
DNFJérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM Cycling  
DNFDries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling  
DNFMarcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFEdward King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFSebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFTheo Bos (Ned) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFLouis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFKristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
DNFYannick Martinez (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFTony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFMaxime Daniel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFDamien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFAlexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFAntoine Duchesne (Can) Team Europcar  
DNFQuentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFJens Mouris (Ned) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFThomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFLeigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFFlorian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFDominique Rollin (Can) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFChristophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFJay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFAndreas Stauff (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFLuke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFAdam Blythe (GBr) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFMatthew Harley Goss (Aus) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFJoseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team  
DNFSébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  

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