Gatto wins Dwars door Vlaanderen

Voeckler's solo attack falls metres short

Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) claimed a dramatic victory at Dwars Door Vlaanderen after his powerful sprint saw him overhaul late breakaway Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in the dying centimetres in Waregem.

Voeckler had gone clear from the winning break of 10 riders with a canny attack after the final climb of the Nokereberg with seven kilometres to go, opening out a lead of 16 seconds with a little over one kilometre to go.

The Frenchman began to flag in the closing kilometre, however, while Ian Stannard (Sky) and Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) put in powerful turns in the break to slash his advantage.

Voeckler still had a narrow lead as he entered the finishing straight, but there was an air of grim inevitability as the fluorescent figure of Gatto opened his sprint and emerged from the gloom behind. The Italian swept past Voeckler inside the final 50 metres, and won the race ahead of Borut Bozic (Astana) and Mathew Hayman (Sky), while Voeckler came home in 5th.

“Coming into the last kilometre, I thought Voeckler would make it to be honest,” Gatto said. “I took Stannard’s wheel because I had seen how strong he was at Milan-San Remo on Sunday. He went to the front inside the final kilometre which meant that I had to launch my sprint from a long way out."

Voeckler, meanwhile, was suffering a thousand agonies in front and when the chasers began to swirl around his rear wheel, he had nothing left to fend them off. "I started getting cramps in the last 100 metres," Voeckler said. "I thought I was going to make it, but I could see Stannard pulling in the last kilometre. It's a pity but that's racing."

How it happened

Under grey skies and persistent rain Dwars Door Vlaanderen re-started the Belgian road calendar with a rather low key start in Roeselare. After Sunday’s demands at Milan-San Remo and with three WorldTour events in the next fortnight a number of one-day specialists opted to recover or train rather than brave the near freezing temperatures.

Ahead of the peloton lay 199 kilometres of racing through some of Belgium’s most illustrious cycling terrain, and despite the conditions riders showed little desire in tapping out a gentle tempo and there were a number of attacks in the opening sectors.

The first significant move occurred when Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma QuickStep), Assan Bazayev (Astana), Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp), Luka Mezgec (Team Argos-Shimano), Nico Sijmens (Cofidis, Solutions Credits), Jonathan Breyne (Crelan – Euphony), Matthew Brammeier (Champion System Pro Cycling Team), Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team), Eloy Teruel (Movistar Team),Maarten Neyens (Lotto Belisol), Mattia Pozzo (Vini Fantini), Marko Kump (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) and Blaz Jarc (Team NetApp - Endura) escaped from the bunch.

They were afforded little room to manoeuvre by the aggressive peloton, which was keen to keep any move in close quarters.

However, soon the majority of riders who made the first split were at it again, slipping clear before the Nieuwe Kwaremont and establishing a 45 second lead.

Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma QuickStep) and Tom Stamsnijder (Argos Shimano) escaped with Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Belisol), Romain Zingle (Cofidis, Solutions Credits), Christopher Juul Jensen, Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team), Yohann Gene (Europcar), Danilo Napolitano (Accent Jobs - Wanty), Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team), Assan Bazayev (Astana), Nico Sijmens (Cofidis, Solutions Credits), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling, Matthew Brammeier (Champion System Pro Cycling Team) Mathew Hayman (Team Sky).

Romain Zingle pushed on ahead and briefly led the race as the break reached the Berendries after 123km. The lead on the peloton was still under a minute, the size of the break a clear disadvantage. Hayman led small group that included Steegmans up to Zingle’s wheel on the climb.

Voeckler attempted a counter attack from within the main field but his effort merely served to eliminate a few more seconds from the break’s lead.

Up ahead the lead group was reduced to Hayman, Zingle, Bazayev, Steegmans, Brammeier, Veuchelen, Saramotins and Mol.

On the Valkenburg the leaders still had a gap of 45 seconds with Bazayev conducting much of the pace setting.

When the gap moved out to 1:38 and the race approached a crucial phase with 70 kilometres to go the peloton saw a number of counter attacks go clear. With no one team taking up the chase and the race’s two strongest teams – Sky and Omega – both represented in the break, Europcar became the main instigators.

A number of minor crashes in the peloton slowed the chase as a general reforming of the main initial break took place on the Eikenberg as a seven man counter attack that included Chainel, Lund, and Cousin.

The strength of Steegmans and Hayman began to tell as the break reached the 60km to go mark, the pair swapping repeated turns as their companions showed sign of weakness. With the chasers at just 49 seconds it was imperative that the leaders remained clear as any merging of the two packs would likely see a lull in pace and even likelier regrouping with the main field.

Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) crashed heavily with 58 kilometres to go, the Garmin-Sharp laying motionless on the ground for several minutes.

Up ahead Steegmans launched his inevitable, yet decisive attack on the Steenbeekdries, with Hayman and then Saramotins joining him.

With the strongest riders from the break going clear it was only a matter of time before the two breaks merged on the flat, exposed roads leading to the Knoteberg. The leading trio had 35 seconds with peloton 54 seconds back.

The peloton were soon on the heels of the break though, latching onto all but Bazayev and Björn Thurau, who had attacked on his own from the bunch.

As the leaders approached the Knokteberg for the second time Vacansoleil began to orchestrate a consistent chase. Hayman used the gradient to good effect, distancing his two companions as Thurau dispatched of Bazayev on the same pitch.

Maxim Iglinskiy, fresh from his showing at Milan-San Remo used the same climb to make his move, stringing out the peloton and ending Thurau and Bazayev chances and leaving Hayman with 38 seconds advantage with 40 kilometres to go.

Iglinskiy’s surge caused the peloton to rupture, with Voeckler, Maes, Stannard and Devolder all part of a group.

Up ahead, Vandenbergh bridged up to Hayman, but he had closed down the Australian's lead, and soon Gatto was with them and a bit later a 9-man group had assembled at the front with Hayman, Stannard, Maes, Keukeleire, Bozic, Iglinskiy, Gatto, Voeckler, Vandenbergh and Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil).

With 14km to go the leading group had 29 seconds on the chase group including defending champion Terpstra, and all riders were swapping pulls.

On the final climb with 9km remaining, it was Keukeleire who put in the first dig, but he could not distance the rest. Stannard had the next go, but was pulled back by Vandenbergh, leaving the door wide open for Voeckler to launch one of his signature counter-attacks.

Voeckler pulled out a solid 10 second lead with 6 kilometers of flat roads between himself and the finish line. A quick glance over his shoulder with 3km to go gave Voeckler hope as his previous companions grew smaller in the distance, now 17 seconds in arrears, with the bright aqua of Iglinskiy's Astana kit a diminishing bright spot in the dreary Belgian landscape.

Vandenbergh used up the last of his energy to pull the Frenchman back to a slim 9 second lead before being shed from the move, and then a surge from Stannard closed down another few handful of seconds, breaking Voeckler's spirit just 10m before the line. The sprint was then taken by Gatto ahead of Bozic, Hayman and Selvaggi, as a devastated Voeckler finished fifth.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia4:43:40 
2Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team  
3Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling  
4Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
5Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  
6Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
7Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge  
8Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
9Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling0:00:04 
10Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:24 
11Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:01:13 
12Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar  
13Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
14Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
15Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
16Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
17Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling  
18Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar  
19Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling0:01:20 
20Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha0:02:14 
21Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling  
22Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
23Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
24Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team0:02:21 
25Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano  
26Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
27Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2R La Mondiale  
28Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling  
29Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
30Nicolas Vereecken (Bel) An Post-Chainreaction  
31Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp  
32Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha  
33Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
34Baptiste Plackaert (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
35Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
36Luke Rowe (GBr) Sky Procycling  
37Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
38Wesley Kreder (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
39Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Katusha  
40Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard  
41Sébastien Minard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
42Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling  
43Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
44Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
45Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
46Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha  
47Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia  
48Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge  
49Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
50Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:02:28 
51Tom Veelers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
52Andreas Klier (Ger) Garmin-Sharp  
53Steve Chainel (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale0:03:38 
54Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Sharp  
55Markus Eichler (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura  
56Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha  
57James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
58Niko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post-Chainreaction  
59Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
60Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
61Alphonse Vermote (Bel) An Post-Chainreaction  
62Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard  
63Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
64Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Lotto Belisol0:06:48 
DNFGert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFFrantisek Rabon (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFDavide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFGediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFHugo Houle (Can) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFValentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFAssan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFJacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DNFDmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFRuslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFDavid Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFJack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFSteele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFJacob Rathe (USA) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFSébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFVladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha  
DNFVladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha  
DNFGatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha  
DNFWouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFDanny Van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFJose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFGiovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team  
DNFAndrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team  
DNFAlex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team  
DNFEnrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFEloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFJesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFFumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFLuke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFMichael Hepburn (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFAidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFBen Hermans (Bel) RadioShack Leopard  
DNFMarkel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack Leopard  
DNFBob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard  
DNFGiacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard  
DNFHayden Roulston (NZl) RadioShack Leopard  
DNFJesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack Leopard  
DNFChristopher Juul Jensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
DNFJonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
DNFMarko Kump (Slo) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
DNFTakashi Miyazawa (Jpn) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
DNFMichael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
DNFGabriel Rasch (Nor) Sky Procycling  
DNFChristopher Sutton (Aus) Sky Procycling  
DNFRoy Curvers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFKoen De Kort (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFBert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFReinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFRamon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFGaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFSander Cordeel (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFKenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFMaarten Neyens (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFJens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFFrederique Robert (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFTosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFMattia Pozzo (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia  
DNFRafael Andriato (Bra) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia  
DNFStefano Borchi (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia  
DNFPier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia  
DNFMauro Finetto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia  
DNFKristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling  
DNFReto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFPirmin Lang (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFMatteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling  
DNFJulien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFFlorent Barle (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFArnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFAdrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFNico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFRomain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFBryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFDamien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFYohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFMorgan Lamoisson (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFJerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFTom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFPreben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFDanilo Napolitano (Ita) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFStaf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFTim De Troyer (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFRoy Jans (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFStefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFBenjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFChristophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFKoen Barbe (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFJonathan Breyne (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFKurt Hovelynck (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFEgidijus Juodvalkis (Ltu) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFStijn Steels (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFRussell Downing (GBr) Team NetApp-Endura  
DNFRalf Matzka (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura  
DNFBlaz Jarc (Slo) Team NetApp-Endura  
DNFDaniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp-Endura  
DNFMichael Schwarzmann (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura  
DNFAlexander Wetterhall (Swe) Team NetApp-Endura  
DNFMatt Brammeier (Irl) Champion System Pro Cycling Team  
DNFClinton Robert Avery (NZl) Champion System Pro Cycling Team  
DNFRyan Roth (Can) Champion System Pro Cycling Team  
DNFChan Jae Jang (Kor) Champion System Pro Cycling Team  
DNFGang Xu (Chn) Champion System Pro Cycling Team  
DNFPengda Jiao (Chn) Champion System Pro Cycling Team  
DNFBobbie Traksel (Ned) Champion System Pro Cycling Team  
DNFKin San Wu (HKg) Champion System Pro Cycling Team  
DNFSam Bennett (Irl) An Post-Chainreaction  
DNFNiels Wytinck (Bel) An Post-Chainreaction  
DNFMark Mcnally (GBr) An Post-Chainreaction  
DNFGlenn O'shea (Aus) An Post-Chainreaction  
DNFSteven Van Vooren (Bel) An Post-Chainreaction  

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