Wallays wins Dwars door Vlaanderen

Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise took one-two at the Dwars door Vlaanderen with Jelle Wallays attacking a four-man breakaway with one kilometre to go and taking the victory, while his teammate Edward Theuns secured second place after winning the three-man sprint behind. Dylan Van Baarle (Cannondale-Garmin) and world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) were forced to settle for third and fourth, respectively.

Wallays' win was even more remarkable considering he was part of an earlier breakaway, and distanced his previous companions on the Eikenberg with 58km to go. Kwiatkowski bridged across to him after attacking on the Taaienberg, and pulled Theuns and Van Baarle along. The world champion did the lion's share of the work to establish the gap from a large chasing group, but fell victim to tactics in the end.

"I had lost quite a bit of strength from the early breakaway," Wallays said to Sporza. "My only chance was to connect with a small group. It was perfect that Edward (Theuns) was there."

Wallays, who won Paris-Tours last autumn, intended to sacrifice his efforts for Theuns, but when nobody chased his solo attack, he seized his chance for a top result. "I did not have as much strength left. In the last four kilometers I even had slight cramps. I really just wanted to get Edward in as good a position as possible.

"Edward felt very strong and he's super good lately. He's very quick, I am a bit slower. My only chance was with a late attack. Big thanks to Edward, because thanks to him we are 1 and 2."

"This is a very important victory for me. I would like to get into a World Tour team. With two big wins, I hope they will notice."

The four leaders’ gap was never secure, and undulated between 30 seconds and 1:12 minutes with 30km to go and three climbs remaining over the Paterberg, Hellestraat and the Nokereberg. With less than 10km to go, they had only half a minute on a strong chasing group, but the wind went out of the second group's sails when they realized they wouldn't close the gap in time.

Lotto Soudal's Tiesj Benoot, who did a huge amount of work in the chasing group for Belgian champion Jens Debusschere, regretted that he didn't get more help from the other chasers.

"If there was one or two men riding along like me, we could have closed the gap," Benoot said. "We should have followed, that was our fault. I don't understand why they wouldn't work. I think that they weren't good enough. "

Wallays still looked strong as he led Kwiatkowski, Van Baarle and Thuens over the final climb of the day, Nokereberg, with under eight kilometres to go. The leaders continued to rotate pulls up until three kilometres to go but they started to jockey for position as they neared the one-kilometre flag. It was Wallays who surprisingly made the first attack but neither Kwiatkowski or Van Baarle responded to the move.

As Wallays threw his arms up in a victory salute, his teammate Theuns put in a bid for second place and won the three-man sprint to the line, leaving Van Baarle with third and Kwiatkowski with fourth.

A frustrated world champion later said on Twitter, "Lesson from today... I need to remember that not everybody goes for the win. Some guys are content to be just 2nd!"

How it unfolded

It was a dreary day for the Dwars door Vlaanderen as the peloton started in Roeselare and looped back around to Waregem for 200km in cold, rain and overcast conditions… just what one would expect from a Belgian classic.

The peloton contested 12 hellingen including the Nieuwe Kwaremont (88km), Kattenberg (107km), Leberg (116km), Berendries (120km), Valkenberg (125km), Eikenberg (140), Taaienberg (144km), Oude-Kwaremont (162km), Paterberg (165km), Hellestraat (181km) and the Nokereberg (192km).

The race kicks off the start of the cobbled classics, and is just 10 days ahead of the next Monument, the Tour of Flanders on April 5. The riders started the day with enthusiastic attacks through the first portion of the race, however, there were also several crashes on the wet and slippery terrain.

IAM Cycling’s Jerome Pinaeu and Marcel Aregger were involved in an early crash, and while Pineau was able to get back up and make his way back to the field, Aregger was taken to hospital with more serious injuries.

Etixx-QuickStep lined up with a powerful team including two-time winner and defending champion Niki Terpstra but there were also three other past winners on the start line who aimed for another shot at the win including Oscar Gatto (Androni-Giocattoli), Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).

An initial breakaway with 11 riders formed with Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar), Joey Rosskopf (BMC), Sean De Bie (Lotto-Soudal), Tom Van Asbroeck (LottoNL-Jumbo), Sven Erik Bystrom (Katusha), Alexandre Pichot (Europcar), Guiseppe Fonzi (Southeast), Michael Reihs (Cult Energy), Jay Thomson (MTN-Qhubeka), Brian Van Gosthem (Roompot) and Vladimir Isaychev (Katusha).

The move was short-lived and pulled back into the field prompting a series of new attacks, which made way for a more successful breakaway with Wallays, Boris Dron (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Adrien Petit (Cofidis), Brian Van Goethem (Roompot), Gert Dockx (Lotto-Soudal), Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge), Mathias Brändle (IAM Cycling), Martin Mortenson (Cult Energy) and Ruben Zepuntke (Cannondale-Garmin), who later crashed and rode the rest of the race with torn shorts and exposed abrasions.

The nine riders opened a gap of 2:40 minutes at the halfway point of the race and increased it to over three minutes by the time they reached the Kattenberg. But the peloton reacted and ate into their time, leaving the escapees with only 20 seconds with 80km to go.

Alex Kirsch took advantage of the small gap and jumped across to the leaders but with the peloton so close behind the move was cut short and most of the breakaway riders were reabsorbed into the mix - with the exception of Wallays and Dockx, who continued on out front over the Eikenberg.

Wallays attacked his companion through the town of Eitkhove and managed to pick up an additional 35 seconds in a solo effort, however, the lone move seemed slightly ambitious with just under 60km to race.

The reduced peloton rolled over the Taaienberg where world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep) put pressure on the field with a swift pace, he was joined by Theuns and Van Baarle, and it didn’t take long for the trio to catch Wallays and form a new lead group of four.

A larger chase group split in two but reunited as one with roughly 45km to go. It included Breschel, Nairo Quintana and Andrey Amador (Movistar), Lars Boom (Astana), Sven Erik Bystrom, Alexandre Kolobnev and Rudiger Selig (Katusha), Nikolas Maes (Etixx-QuickStep), Tiesj Benoot, Lars Bak and Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal), Marcus Berghardt and Jempy Drucker (BMC), Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis), Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing) and Bändle.
The chase wasn’t powerful or organized enough to bring the breakaway back, as Kwiatkowski pulled Van Baarle, Thuens and Wallays over the Kwaremont, building the gap out to roughly 40 seconds.

Behind, Boom made a move over the cobbled ascent and looked sure to bridge across to the leaders, however, his attempted was halted after he crashed into a farmer’s field. A few seconds later, Devolder crashed on the same patch of slippery road and rolled off to the ditch.

Quintana, who joined the race to gain experience on the cobbles ahead of the Tour de France this year, also lost contact with the group as he struggled on a stretch of cobbles.

By this time, Kwiatkowski, Van Baarle, Thuens and Wallays’ breakaway was established and working well together in an effort to get to the finish line ahead of the chase, which had reshuffled to include Nikolas Maes (Etixx-QuickStep) and his teammate Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Andrey Amador (Movistar), Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo), Jempy Drucker (BMC), Tiesj Benoot and Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal), Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis), former winner Oscar Gatto (Androni-Giocattoli) and Katusha riders Alexey Tsatevich and Vyacheslav Kuznetsov.

Kuznetsov tried to motivate the chase group with a small attack but no one took the bait and they let him go in pursuit of the breakaway riders with 10km to go.

No one skipped a turn until one kilometre to go when Wallays made his winning attack for the finish line in Waregem, and Kwiatkowski looked to Van Baarle to help chase, but the Cannondale-Garmin rider refused. Once in sight of the line, Kwiatkowski attempted to attack to catch Wallays but it was far too late, and he instead led out Theuns for a Topsport 1-2 with Van Baarle claiming the final podium spot.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise4:35:59
2Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:00:02
3Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 2 - Cell 2
4Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:04
5Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:20
6Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:29
7Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 6 - Cell 2
8Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 7 - Cell 2
9Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 8 - Cell 2
10Aleksei Tcatevich (Rus) Team KatushaRow 9 - Cell 2
11Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 11 - Cell 2
13Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 13 - Cell 2
15Oscar Gatto (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 14 - Cell 2
16Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Team Katusha0:04:46
17Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 16 - Cell 2
18Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 17 - Cell 2
19Alexander Kolobnev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 18 - Cell 2
20Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 19 - Cell 2
21Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 20 - Cell 2
22Gedeminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale0:06:50
23Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) IAM CyclingRow 22 - Cell 2
24Tom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 23 - Cell 2
25Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Team RoompotRow 24 - Cell 2
26Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - BaloiseRow 25 - Cell 2
27Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La MondialeRow 27 - Cell 2
29Tim Kerkhof (Ned) Team RoompotRow 28 - Cell 2
30Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - BaloiseRow 29 - Cell 2
31Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team RoompotRow 31 - Cell 2
33Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - BaloiseRow 32 - Cell 2
34Michael Reihs (Den) Cult Energy Pro CyclingRow 33 - Cell 2
35Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Team RoompotRow 34 - Cell 2
36Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 35 - Cell 2
37Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 36 - Cell 2
38Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 37 - Cell 2
39Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto SoudalRow 38 - Cell 2
40Oliver Naesen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - BaloiseRow 39 - Cell 2
41Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 40 - Cell 2
42Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN - QhubekaRow 41 - Cell 2
43Stefan Kueng (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM CyclingRow 43 - Cell 2
45Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 44 - Cell 2
46Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 45 - Cell 2
47Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 47 - Cell 2
49Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 48 - Cell 2
50James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 49 - Cell 2
51Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 50 - Cell 2
52Tyler Farrar (USA) MTN - QhubekaRow 51 - Cell 2
53Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 52 - Cell 2
54Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory RacingRow 53 - Cell 2
55Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 56 - Cell 2
58Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - BaloiseRow 57 - Cell 2
59Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 58 - Cell 2
60Troels Ronning Vinther (Den) Cult Energy Pro CyclingRow 59 - Cell 2
61Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 60 - Cell 2
62Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto SoudalRow 61 - Cell 2
63Marco Bandiera (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 62 - Cell 2
64Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek Factory RacingRow 63 - Cell 2
65Iljo Keisse (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 64 - Cell 2
66Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 65 - Cell 2
67Mauro Finetto (Ita) Southeast Pro CyclingRow 66 - Cell 2
68Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 67 - Cell 2
69Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 68 - Cell 2
70Vegard Breen (Nor) Lotto SoudalRow 69 - Cell 2
71Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 70 - Cell 2
72Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - BaloiseRow 71 - Cell 2
73Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:07:02
74Yohann Gene (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 73 - Cell 2
75Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team RoompotRow 74 - Cell 2
76Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 75 - Cell 2
77Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 76 - Cell 2
78Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar TeamRow 77 - Cell 2
79Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80John Gadret (Fra) Movistar TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
81Wesley Kreder (Ned) Team RoompotRow 80 - Cell 2
82Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdgeRow 81 - Cell 2
83Gert Steegmans (Bel) Trek Factory RacingRow 82 - Cell 2
84Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 83 - Cell 2
85Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 85 - Cell 2
87Jonas Ahlstrand (Swe) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 86 - Cell 2
88Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team0:07:06
89Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 88 - Cell 2
DNFRafael Andriato (Bra) Southeast Pro CyclingRow 89 - Cell 2
DNFMichael Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 90 - Cell 2
DNFAlessio Taliani (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 91 - Cell 2
DNFTiziano Dall´Antonia (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 92 - Cell 2
DNFJuraj Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 93 - Cell 2
DNFFabio Taborre (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 94 - Cell 2
DNFAlberto Nardin (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 95 - Cell 2
DNFMarcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing TeamRow 96 - Cell 2
DNFCampbell Flakemore (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
DNFBoris Dron (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 98 - Cell 2
DNFGiacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory RacingRow 99 - Cell 2
DNFJesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory RacingRow 100 - Cell 2
DNFRohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 101 - Cell 2
DNFMarco Benfatto (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 102 - Cell 2
DNFDanny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory RacingRow 103 - Cell 2
DNFStijn Devolder (Bel) Trek Factory RacingRow 104 - Cell 2
DNFMirko Tedeschi (Ita) Southeast Pro CyclingRow 105 - Cell 2
DNFIvar Slik (Ned) Team RoompotRow 106 - Cell 2
DNFBrian Van Goethem (Ned) Team RoompotRow 107 - Cell 2
DNFRasmus Christian Quaade (Den) Cult Energy Pro CyclingRow 108 - Cell 2
DNFMads Pedersen (Den) Cult Energy Pro CyclingRow 109 - Cell 2
DNFMartin Mortensen (Den) Cult Energy Pro CyclingRow 110 - Cell 2
DNFAlex Kirsch (Lux) Cult Energy Pro CyclingRow 111 - Cell 2
DNFRussell Downing (GBr) Cult Energy Pro CyclingRow 112 - Cell 2
DNFEugert Zhupa (Alb) Southeast Pro CyclingRow 113 - Cell 2
DNFJakub Mareczko (Ita) Southeast Pro CyclingRow 114 - Cell 2
DNFMaciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 115 - Cell 2
DNFLars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro TeamRow 116 - Cell 2
DNFAndrea Dal Col (Ita) Southeast Pro CyclingRow 117 - Cell 2
DNFAndrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 118 - Cell 2
DNFArman Kamyshev (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 119 - Cell 2
DNFRuslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 120 - Cell 2
DNFRudiger Selig (Ger) Team KatushaRow 121 - Cell 2
DNFGiuseppe Fonzi (Ita) Southeast Pro CyclingRow 122 - Cell 2
DNFFabian Wegmann (Ger) Cult Energy Pro CyclingRow 123 - Cell 2
DNFVladimir Isaychev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 124 - Cell 2
DNFMoreno Hofland (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 125 - Cell 2
DNFRick Flens (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 126 - Cell 2
DNFBertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 127 - Cell 2
DNFMike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 128 - Cell 2
DNFMaarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 129 - Cell 2
DNFNick Dougall (RSA) MTN - QhubekaRow 130 - Cell 2
DNFMaarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 131 - Cell 2
DNFJos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 132 - Cell 2
DNFAlexandre Pichot (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 133 - Cell 2
DNFMarco Haller (Aut) Team KatushaRow 134 - Cell 2
DNFMichael Hepburn (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 135 - Cell 2
DNFMatt Brammeier (Irl) MTN - QhubekaRow 136 - Cell 2
DNFAleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM CyclingRow 137 - Cell 2
DNFAlexander Porsev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 138 - Cell 2
DNFJérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 139 - Cell 2
DNFDries Devenyns (Bel) IAM CyclingRow 140 - Cell 2
DNFMarcel Aregger (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 141 - Cell 2
DNFEdward King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 142 - Cell 2
DNFSebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 143 - Cell 2
DNFTheo Bos (Ned) MTN - QhubekaRow 144 - Cell 2
DNFLouis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 145 - Cell 2
DNFKristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling TeamRow 146 - Cell 2
DNFYannick Martinez (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 147 - Cell 2
DNFTony Hurel (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 148 - Cell 2
DNFMaxime Daniel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 149 - Cell 2
DNFDamien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 150 - Cell 2
DNFAlexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 151 - Cell 2
DNFAntoine Duchesne (Can) Team EuropcarRow 152 - Cell 2
DNFQuentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 153 - Cell 2
DNFJens Mouris (Ned) Orica GreenEdgeRow 154 - Cell 2
DNFThomas Voeckler (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 155 - Cell 2
DNFLeigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 156 - Cell 2
DNFFlorian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 157 - Cell 2
DNFDominique Rollin (Can) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 158 - Cell 2
DNFChristophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 159 - Cell 2
DNFJay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN - QhubekaRow 160 - Cell 2
DNFAndreas Stauff (Ger) MTN - QhubekaRow 161 - Cell 2
DNFLuke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 162 - Cell 2
DNFAdam Blythe (GBr) Orica GreenEdgeRow 163 - Cell 2
DNFMatthew Harley Goss (Aus) MTN - QhubekaRow 164 - Cell 2
DNFJoseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 165 - Cell 2
DNFSébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 166 - Cell 2

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