Halvorsen wins Handzame Classic

U23 world champ outsprints Blythe and Dehaes in Belgium

Under-23 world champion Kristoffer Halvorsen (Joker Icopal) proved his class once again Friday with a sprint victory at the Handzame Classic ahead of British champion Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) and Kenny Dehaes (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).

Blythe's Aqua Blue Sport team controlled the front of the bunch over the final five kilometres in Belgium, but it was Halvorsen who had the advantage as the sprinters jumped out of the final right-hand turn. Blythe poured on the power but was unable to get on terms with the young Norwegian.

"It was very hard," Halvorsen said of the finale. "There was crosswind, but the team did a really, really good job, and I'm so proud of them."

The win is just Halvorsen's second in the pro ranks, but he showed no lack of confidence going up against more experienced sprinters during the bunch kick in Kortemark.

"You know all of them have just two legs, so … yeah," he said. "We are just a Continental team on paper, but they are so strong."

Blythe, who was also second in the sprint at the end of Wednesday’s Nokere Koerse, was obviously disappointed in not bringing home the win for his team.

"It was good, but I should have won," he said. "I just messed the sprint up a little bit. I was a bit too far back. I was just coming at him with speed. I think another 10 metres I'd have had him, but that's racing."

How it unfolded

Six riders animated the race in the early going, with Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step Floors), Jonas Koch (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin), Alex Kirsch (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect) and Timothy Stevens (Pauwels sauzen-Vastgoedservice) escaping the bunch and setting off for a day out front.

The peloton was obviously anxious for a sprint at the finish of the 192.7km mostly flat race that started in Bredene and finished in Kortemark, and the bunch caught the leaders with 36km to go.

With the breakaway in check, attacks started to fly from the peloton. Dries De Bondt (Vérandas Willems-Crelan) was the first to try, leading the race through the eventual finish line with two laps left of the finishing circuit, but he was never allowed much of an advantage, with a hungry peloton sweeping him up before long.

Consistent attacking over the final 20 kilometres drove up the pace, with small groups peeling away but not managing to make anything stick.

The bunch took the bell for the final lap together, with Joker Icopal setting the pace. Bora-Hansgrohe took up duty on the front from Joker, hoping to set up Erik Baška to defend his 2016 win.

Aqua Blue Sport was the next team to drive up the pace over the final kilometres, setting up the big bunch sprint, but it was Joker's Halvorsen that emerged victorious at the line.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Team Joker Icopal4:15:31 
2Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport  
3Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
4Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin  
5Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
6Andre Looij (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
7Roy Jans (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
8Timothy Dupont (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
9Jelle Mannaerts (Bel) Tarteletto - Isorex  
10Davide Martinelli (Ita) Quick-Step Floors  
11Alan Banaszek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
12Erik Baska (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe  
13Riccardo Stacchiotti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini  
14Louis Verhelst (Bel) Bauwels sauzen - Vastgoedservice  
15Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
16Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
17Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy  
18Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
19Leon Rohde (Ger) Development Team Sunweb  
20Rob Leemans (Bel) Pauwels sauzen - Vastgoedservice  
21Maxime Farazijn (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
22Stijn Steels (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
23Elmar Reinders (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
24Barry Markus (Ned) Pauwels sauzen - Vastgoedservice  
25Robin Stenuit (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
26Igor Boev (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
27Mathias De Witte (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
28Przemysław Kasperkiewicz (Pol) An Post Chain Reaction  
29Dieter Bouvry (Bel) Pauwels sauzen - Vastgoedservice  
30August Jensen (Nor) Team Coop  
31Frantisek Sisr (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
32Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin  
33Adrian Kurek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
34Michiel Dieleman (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
35Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin  
36Patryk Stosz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
37Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
38Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
39Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Floors  
40Maxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
41Vegard Breen (Nor) Team Joker Icopal  
42Berden De Vries (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
43Kevyn Ista (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
44Gianni Marchand (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
45Dries De Bondt (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
46Jakub Kaczmarek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
47Stijn Devolder (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
48Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
49Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
50Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Katusha-Alpecin  
51Taco Van Der Hoorn (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
52Wesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:10 
53Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
54Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
55Jens Wallays (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
56Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin  
57Arjen Livyns (Bel) Pauwels sauzen - Vastgoedservice  
58Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
59Remy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
60Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora - Hansgrohe  
61Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
62Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
63Sander Cordeel (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:00:17 
64Piet Allegaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
65Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:00:20 
66Leigh Howard (Aus) Aqua Blue Sport0:00:27 
67Aaron Gate (NZl) Aqua Blue Sport  
68Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:30 
69Michal Paluta (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:01:01 
70Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport  
71Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Israel Cycling Academy0:01:19 
72Brian Van Goethem (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:01:32 
73Lawrence Naesen (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
74Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy0:01:42 
75Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:02:10 
76Conor Dunne (Irl) Aqua Blue Sport  
77Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Tarteletto - Isorex0:03:21 
78Bjørn Tore Hoem (Nor) Team Joker Icopal  
79Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:04:14 
80Andrew Fenn (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport  
81Timothy Stevens (Bel) Pauwels sauzen - Vastgoedservice  
82Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors  
83Martin Velits (Svk) Quick-Step Floors  
84Jacob Scott (Gbr) An Post Chain Reaction  
85Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
86Sean Mackinnon (Can) An Post Chain Reaction0:04:23 
87Ruben Zepuntke (Ger)Development Team Sunweb0:04:25 
88Enzo Wouters (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
89Peter Koning (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport  
90Jimmy Duquennoy (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect0:06:47 
91Alex Kirsch (Lux) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
92Ole Forfang (Nor) Team Joker Icopal  
93Kristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Team Joker Icopal  
94Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFSilvio Herklotz (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFMichael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFJosé Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFMarco Mathis (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFJhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFDanilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFGaetan Bille (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFChristophe Prémont (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFLudwig De Winter (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
DNFJulien Stassen (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
DNFTim Ariesen (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
DNFDmitriy Kozontchuk (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
DNFSergey Nikolaev (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
DNFAndrei Solomennikov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
DNFEvgeny Shalunov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  
DNFKirill Sveshnikov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo  

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