Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) took the second victory of his road season at 'mini-cobbled Classic' the Grand Prix de Denain on Sunday. The Dutch road race champion soloed to the line ahead of a charging peloton after attacking on the final cobbled sector of the race.
Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ) won the sprint for second place, three seconds back, while Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) took third place.
Van der Poel, who looked like his spring campaign was in danger after crashing hard in the final of Nokere Koerse earlier this week, attacked 40km from the line to catch the breakaway before later going all out for the win.
Used to solo victories during the cyclo-cross season, the 24-year-old rode the final eight kilometres alone after his stinging attack left companions Mihkel Raïm (Israel Cycling Academy) and Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) in the dust.
“I was still a little bad [from the crash], but when we got to the final, we were in another world,” said Van der Poel after the finish. “I knew I had to get to this last sector of cobbles 9km from the finish.
“I was really going deep to stay ahead. In the final, you are thinking about it, but I didn’t look back to see the peloton. I just gave everything for the line.
“Today we saw how strong the team was – their work was incredible. It was one of the first times I have finished solo at this level and I’m proud of that. It was one of the most difficult victories.”
How it happened
The GP de Denain is one of the newer cobbled one-day races on the calendar, having been a race for the sprinters until last year’s edition. This time around there was 21km of cobbles, spread over 12 sectors, including the Wallers à Haveluy sector which regularly features in Paris-Roubaix.
A group of 15 men got up the road after a fast opening, with their advantage over the peloton reaching a maximum of two minutes at the midway point of the race.
Bert De Backer (Vital Concept-B&B Hotels), Jimmy Janssens, Lasse Norman Hansen (both Corendon-Circus), Mihkel Raïm, Guillaume Boivin (both Israel Cycling Academy) and Alexandre Pichot (Direct Énergie) were among the more notable names to make the break.
As the sectors passed by, the gap decreased, coming down to 45 seconds with 45km and four cobbled sectors left to race. Back in the peloton, van der Poel went on the attack first, going clear on the Marquette à Abscon sector 41km out.
Kirsch followed him, sticking with the cyclocross champion. A couple of kilometres later they had caught the break, and Janssens and Hansen were put to work on the front in service of the team leader. Some 30 seconds back Roompot-Charles were driving the peloton.
Heading into the final 20km, it was back to the cobbles and action in the peloton as attacks flew. Up front, it was Kirsch pushing the pace, with Van der Poel alert to the moves as the break shrunk to 10 riders under the pressure.
With the peloton closing in as the break reached the penultimate cobbled sector, Van der Poel struck again. Only Kirsch and Raïm could follow, forming a leading trio heading into the final 10km.
Van der Poel went for it again with a brutal attack on the final sector. His companions were left floundering in his wake and were swallowed up by the peloton on the run-in. The 20-second gap looked fragile but Van der Poel was in full solo time trial mode and held strong on the run-in to secure an impressive victory.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus||4:21:39|
|2||Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:00:03|
|3||Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Gobert|
|4||Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo|
|5||Emiel Vermeulen (Bel) Natura4Ever-Roubaix-Lille Metropole|
|6||Justin Jules (Fra) Wallonie Bruxelles|
|7||Pierre Barbier (Fra) Natura4Ever-Roubaix-Lille Metropole|
|8||Bram Welten (Ned) Arkea Samsic|
|9||Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale|
|10||Romain Cardis (Fra) Direct Energie|
|11||Milan Menten (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|12||Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel|
|13||Mattia Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|14||Marco Mathis (Ger) Cofidis, Solutions Credits|
|15||Andreas Stokbo Nielsen (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team|
|16||Damien Touze (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits|
|17||Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Cycling Academy|
|18||Daniel Lopez Parada (Spa) Burgos-BH|
|19||Jelle Mannaerts (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex|
|20||Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|21||Kevin Le Cunff (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93|
|22||Julien Trarieux (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|23||Josip Rumac (Cro) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|24||Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles|
|25||Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy|
|26||Thomas Joseph (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex|
|27||Jimmy Turgis (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel|
|28||Samuel Leroux (Fra) Natura4Ever-Roubaix-Lille Metropole|
|29||Aime De Gendt (Bel) Wanty-Gobert|
|30||Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Arkea Samsic|
|31||Bert De Backer (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel|
|32||Tony Hurel (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93|
|33||Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Gobert|
|34||Pierre Idjouadiene (Fra) Natura4Ever-Roubaix-Lille Metropole|
|35||AurŽlien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale|
|36||Aksel Nommela (Est) Wallonie Bruxelles||0:00:08|
|37||Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Pol) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|38||Krister Hagen (Nor) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team|
|39||Tom Dernies (Bel) Natura4Ever-Roubaix-Lille Metropole|
|40||Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo||0:00:11|
|41||Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy||0:00:14|
|42||Lars Boom (Ned) Roompot-Charles||0:00:17|
|43||Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale||0:00:21|
|44||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Corendon-Circus|
|45||Stijn Devolder (Bel) Corendon-Circus||0:00:26|
|46||Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles||0:00:30|
|47||Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ|
|48||Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise||0:00:47|
|49||Alo Jakin (Est) St Michel-Auber 93||0:00:48|
|50||Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo||0:01:27|
|51||Mihkel Raim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy|
|52||Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Direct Energie||0:02:42|
|53||Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) Direct Energie|
|54||Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles||0:02:43|
|55||Jan-Andre Freuler (Swi) Amore & Vita-Prodir||0:02:53|
|56||Laurent Pichon (Fra) Arkea Samsic|
|57||Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits|
|58||Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|59||Loic Chetout (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits|
|60||Mickael Delage (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|61||Bagdonas Gediminas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale|
|62||Yoann Paillot (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93|
|63||Piet Allegaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
|64||Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Corendon-Circus||0:02:56|
|65||Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Corendon-Circus|
|66||Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie|
|67||Alexis Guerin (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM||0:03:38|
|68||Tom Wirtgen (Lux) Wallonie Bruxelles||0:03:56|
|69||Alan Riou (Fra) Arkea Samsic||0:04:49|
|70||Sjoerd van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot-Charles||0:05:49|
|71||Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-Charles||0:08:37|
|72||Maarten van Trijp (Ned) Corendon-Circus|
|73||Marco Benfatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|74||Jeremy Leveau (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|75||Lukas Spengler (Swi) Wallonie Bruxelles|
|76||Stijn Steels (Bel) Roompot-Charles||0:09:17|
|77||Tobias Morch Kongstad (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team|
|78||Thibault Guernalec (Fra) Arkea Samsic|
|79||Julien Morice (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel||0:09:49|
|80||Corentin Ermenault (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel|
|81||Franklin Six (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles||0:10:19|
|82||Jeremy Lecroq (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel||0:10:20|
|83||Robbe Ghys (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise||0:12:14|
|84||Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:14:03|
|85||Mattia Viel (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||0:17:08|
|86||Roy Goldstein (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy|
|87||Alvaro Robredo Crespo (Spa) Burgos-BH|
|88||Nils Sinschek (Ned) Team Sunweb Development|
|89||Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec|
|90||Manuel Penalver Aniorte (Spa) Burgos-BH|
|91||Joseph Areruya (Rwa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM|
|92||Leon Heinschke (Ger) Team Sunweb Development|
|93||Alex Frame (NZl) Trek-Segafredo|
|DNF||Torkil Veyhe (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team|
|DNF||Deins Kanepejs (Lat) Amore & Vita-Prodir|
|DNF||Niklas Markl (Ger) Team Sunweb Development|
|DNS||Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH|