With series leader Sean De Bie (Veranda’s Willems-Crelan) abandoning Binche-Chimay-Binche early and second-placed Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) absent, Dupont made it into a breakaway and scored points at the intermediate sprints, which, along with his eighth-place finish, lifted him to the top of the final standings for the second time in his career. Dupont pulled to within five points of De Bie with the sprint points and needed a top-10 finish to pull ahead in the final rankings.
"At first I tried to win the race today," Dupont said. "We were in front with a nice group in the final, but unfortunately we were caught in the final lap. In the sprint I was on Arnaud Démare's wheel. But he had to let go on the cobbles and thus a top-five was out of reach.
"For our main sponsor, Wanty, this victory in the Belgian Cup is of course magnificent. We were riding on their home soil," Dupont said. "For the second time in my career I am the final winner of the Belgian Cup. This win is a reward for my regularity and all the teamwork of the past year."
In the upcoming days, Dupont will ride Paris-Bourges, Paris-Tours and Tacx Pro Classic to end his season.
Naesen close again at Binche-Chimay-Binche
Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) lamented another close call in the uphill finish of Binche-Chimay-Binche after he finished third behind solo winner Danny van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) and bunch-sprint winner Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors).
The result is Naesen's fourth third-place finish this year, part of 12 top 10 finishes and only one victory this year.
"I’ve accumulated a collection of honorable mentions," Naesen said. "Binche-Chimay-Binche is an end-of-season race where you never really know what to expect. Some riders are tired and others are super motivated to get a result. I have nothing to regret today. I could have gotten second if I had been positioned better, but Van Poppel was just stronger."
Naesen's lone win this year came in August at the Bretagne Classic in France, and he followed that with fourth at Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec in September, third at Tour de l'Eurométropole, ninth at Grand Prix d'Isbergues and now third at Binche-Chimay-Binche. He's hoping the good from and results continue through the season's end.
"I am in good shape, and I have accumulated a string of good placings recently," he said. "So I really have high hopes for Paris-Tours, and with the new parcours with sections going through the vineyards will make the race more open, which will suit me. It will be my last race of the year, and I would love to impose myself.”
UAE Team Emirates re-sign Laengen and Polanc
Polanc, 26, has been with the team since 2017 after four years with its precursor, Lampre-Merida. The Slovenian has won two stages of the Giro d'Italia, in 2015 during stage 5 to Abetone and in 2017 during stage 4 to Mt. Etna. He finished 11th overall in the Giro that year.
“I couldn’t have been able to ask for more," Polanc said in a team release. "It is beautiful to know that I will be able to perform at the top with UAE Team Emirates for 2019 and 2020. It’s very motivating to see the team carry more and more weight in the peloton. It’s path is upwards, and I’m happy to be apart of this project. I’m sure that we should be able to reach the big goals.”
Laengen, 29, most recently was in the breakaway that led the UCI Road World Championships road race until the final 20km. The 2018 Norwegian road race champion joined UAE in 2017 from IAM Cycling. He won the overall at the Tour of Alsace in 2015, was sixth overall at the Tour of California in 2017 and finished third in the stage 9 individual time trial at the 2016 Giro d'Italia.
"I’m very happy for the chance to continue for another two years with UAE Team Emirates,” Laengen said. “We are a united group. I get along very well with my teammates and the staff. The atmosphere is motivating and it helps me better my performance, allowing me to take advantage of special moments like what we saw in the national championship and the recent Worlds. I can’t wait to share more of these moments with the team."
Wanty-Groupe Gobert extend with three
Belgian Pro Continental team Wanty-Groupe Gobert have signed contract extensions with three riders, adding two more years for Kévin Van Melsen, Fabien Doubey and Wesley Kreder. All three riders will be with the team through 2020.
Belgian Van Melsen, 31, has been active in the team since 2009, finishing seventh in Poly Normande and eighth in the Grand Prix de la Ville de Lillers.
"I would like to thank Jean-François Bourlart and the sponsors for their confidence in my abilities," Van Melsen said. "For 10 years I have been part of a team that is now like my family. I made good progress in 2018. My role was to assist the leaders until deep in the final. This role requires a little more responsibility, which also motivates me. In 2019 I want to show beautiful things. I am already motivated to assist our leaders, Guillaume Martin and Xandro Meurisse."
Twenty-four-year-old Frenchman Doubey joined the team in 2017 and earlier this year finished 11th in the Tour of Oman. Kreder, 27, joined Wanty-Groupe Gobert again in 2017 after two years with Roompot-Oranje Peloton.The Dutchman finished fourth in the Antwerp Port Epic and most recently won the Izegem Koers kermesse.
"I feel good at Wanty-Groupe Gobert," Kreder said. "The team appreciates me. In the classics I always work for the collective. In addition to the teamwork, I was able to take a nice victory in Izegem a few weeks ago. I hope to end the season with style in Tour of Taihu Lake in China, and I look forward to the next two years. I will continue to dedicate myself to the team and hope to be able to achieve some good results myself."
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