Both Moscon and Rowe had made the cut when the race dramatically split up on the Muur and were in the lead group when eventual winner Philippe Gilbert (QuickStep Floors) attacked with 55 km to go. But only 3km later, Cannondale-Drapac’s Sep Vanmarcke slid out on the approach to the Paterberg, directly in front of Rowe, taking the Welsh rider with him. Rowe was able to continue but never made it back to the front. He ended the race as the next-to-last rider, at 11:31 down from the winner Gilbert, covered in blood and in obvious pain.
Moscon was luckier, as he was able to avoid the crash, and hung on to the 14-man chase group, which finished 53 seconds down. A promising Flanders debut for the 22-year-old, who had featured at the head of the race when it split on the Muur, which carried him into the lead group. First year pro Jon Dibben, who did not finish the race, enjoyed his introduction to Flanders. He helped to position the team leaders going into the climbs, and actually led the peloton onto the Muur.
"I enjoyed it,” he said on the team website. “My life got a lot easier when the break went straight away, so a lot of my planned work I didn't have to do. Then it was pretty chilled - we had 60-70km with the sun out and good crowds, just rolling along. Then boom - once it got to the Kwaremont for the first time it was on then. It was a big fight from there."
After the race, DS Servais Knaven might have hoped for more, but saw the positive in what happened. "As a team the guys were really good and strong riding together. They made sure everyone was in a good position on the Muur which was impressive," he said. “Gianni was on his own and he did a really good ride. He's still young and it's hard on your own. But I'm proud of him and he can be proud of himself.”
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