Welcome to live coverage of Dwars door Vlaanderen.
Hello to you all and welcome to our coverage of Dwars door Vlaanderen. This is the final outing for the peloton ahead of this weekend's Tour of Flanders.
The riders are on the start line in Roeselare and will be setting off in just a few minutes. It's a short 4.5km neutral zone to Ardooie and then racing will begin proper.
Alejandro Valverde is riding Dwars door Vlaanderen once again and he was a popular rider at the start, particularly given the rainbow stripes he's wearing. I don't think he had any of that Kwaremont before the start, but maybe he'll be enjoying some later today.
A tiny bit later than planned, the riders set off from Roeselare.
As it always is with these races, Deceuninck-QuickStep is the team to beat today. They have two-time defending champion Yves Lampaert in their line-up, but they also have options with Bob Jungels, Philippe Gilbert and Alvaro Hodeg.
1 Yves Lampaert (Bel)
2 Philippe Gilbert (Bel)
3 Kasper Asgreen (Den)
4 Florian Sénéchal (Fra)
5 Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col)
6 Bob Jungels (Lux)
7 Iljo Keisse (Bel)
Of course, it was UAE Team Emirates - along with the help of several teams - that put QuickStep to the sword on Sunday at Gent-Wevelgem. They bring a pretty decent roster today with Fernando Gaviria, Alexander Kristoff and Jasper Philipsen.
91 Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
92 Fernando Gaviria (Col)
93 Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor)
94 Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
95 Marco Marcato (Ita)
96 Jasper Philipsen (Bel)
97 Oliviero Troia (Ita)
Today's race is a parcours of two halves. The first part of the course is relatively flat with a few small undulations and the Nieuwe Kwaremont. It then ramps up in the latter part with lots of climbing and plenty of cobbled sectors. Read Barry Ryan's full preview here.
173km remaining from 183km
We're now ten kilometres into the race and a breakaway has not yet formed. Edoardo Affini has gone off the front and taken a few riders with him but they only have a small gap on the peloton at the moment.
Affini and co have now been reeled in by the peloton and we're back to square one.
Don't forget, there is a women's Dwars door Vlaanderen as well today. They will set off from Tielt in a little under 30 minutes.
A crash for Mitch Docker but he's up and riding again. It's not been the best week for EF Education First with Sep Vammarcke's crash over the weekend.
Vanmarcke is missing today's race following his crash at E3. He had been hoping to give his knee a test in racing conditions at Dwars door Vlaanderen but decided to give it a miss in the end. Another rider that isn't here today is Greg Van Avermaet, who chose to rest up ahead of the Tour of Flanders this weekend. Read more about that here.
One Flanders contender that is here is Oliver Naesen. The former Belgian champion has had a great spring with second at Milan-San Remo, eighth at E3 BinckBank Classic and third at Gent-Wevelgem. Hopefully he'll avoid any trouble with coats at this year's Flanders.
153km remaining from 183km
The peloton is still all together after 30 kilometres of racing. Perhaps they are waiting for the first climb of the day to get going. Deceuninck-QuickStep said that they would look to control this first part of the race and they are doing just that right now.
Alejandro Valverde has proved he can cope well with the cobbles in the past and he's an outside bet for today. Here is what he had to say ahead of the start this morning.
“I’m good. I’m very happy to be here in Belgium once again and enjoying the atmosphere. You always have a few nerves on the start line, but I’m going to try and do the best I can, and without pressure.
"It’s the first day this year I’ll be on the pave. It’ll be complicated to do something ‘bueno bueno’, but still, we’ll see what happens.”
Still all together at the moment. It's quite a nice day out there at the moment. Cool, but sunny and with only a hint of wind. Nice day for a bike ride to be fair.
The women's race is also underway. They are due to finish around an hour before the men. A crash has occurred in the neutral zone. Everyone seems ok, at the moment.
In the men's race, Mathieu van der Poel will be one to watch today. He's taken to the cobbles like a duck to water this spring and he's in it to win it today.
"I need these races to have a bit more competition hardness. And if I participate, I always try to win," he told Sporza.
134km remaining from 183km
Deceuninck-QuickStep continue to control the bunch. There are some tentative moves off the front but nobody had been able to make anything stick.
Given that nobody has been able to get away so far, it will be no surprise that the pace has been extremely high so far today. Over the first hour of racing, the riders have averaged 47.8kph.
An eight-rider group has gone clear of the peloton. Their advantage is just a slim 12 seconds at the moment.
The riders off the front are: Jonas Koch, Nelson Oliveira, Ramon Sinkeldam, Zhandos Bizjigitov, Lukas Pöstlberger, Michael Hepburn, Kris Boeckmans and Mihkel Räim
It seems that the peloton is ready to let the breakaway go, finally, and the leaders have a minute of an advantage.
Meanwhile, over in the women's race, there have been a lot of attacks but nothing has stuck just yet. A the moment, a five-ride move is attempting to get up the road. Sunweb is trying to shut it down, though.
118km remaining from 183km
There is still around 15 kilometres before the riders reach the first climb of the day. After that, there is the feed zone before. With around 70km to go, the real race begins with the Kluisberg kicking things off.
The gap to the leaders is growing pretty quickly now. It currently stands at just over three minutes.
Wout van Aert is not racing today as he is another of the riders enjoying a bit of a break following the rough and tumble of last weekend. However, he will be in action at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. He finished ninth in his debut last season and there is plenty of expectation on his shoulders going into this weekend. Read more about that here.
Deceuninck-QuickStep continue to manage the front of the peloton, with some help from Team Sky. They keep the gap between themselves and the eight leaders to three minutes.
Team Sky has a pretty decent line-up here today with a number of options. Luke Rowe didn't have a good E3 but he looked strong on Sunday at Gent-Wevelgem. Chris Lawless and Kristoffer Halvorsen provide options in a sprint. Moscon is a bit of a wildcard as he hasn't shown much form so far during the Classics.
161 Gianni Moscon (Ita)
162 Chris Lawless (GBr)
163 Owain Doull (GBr)
164 Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor)
165 Christian Knees (Ger)
166 Luke Rowe (GBr)
167 Dylan van Baarle (Ned)
The pace is ramping up and the peloton have closed down the breakaway a touch, reducing their lead to 2:30 as we approach the feed zone.
The Nieuwe Kwaremont was tackled without any real issues for the riders. That's the first of 11 for today. They have a small bit of respite before the next ones arrive.
UAE Team Emirates and Katusha-Alpecin are doing some work on the front of the peloton. UAE have two options in Kristoff and Gaviria, while the nominated leader for Katusha is former winner Jens Debusschere. Katusha also has Nils Politt.
Mechanical problem for Gilbert but he's back on his bike quickly.
77km remaining from 183km
The next set of climbs are coming up in just a few kilometres and that is reflected in the action at the front of the bunch. Everybody wants to be up front when they hit the climbs.
There is a slowing in the bunch and the breakaway has been brought to a halt.
We hear that it is the women's race that is coming through. We had a similar problem at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but it was the women's race that was stopped.
The peloton arrived at full tilt and got the message at the last second. The riders are on their way again. It seems that the peloton was reluctant to give the breakaway the time they had before the stoppage.
It's all a bit chaotic at the moment and it seems that Oliveira - who was in the breakaway - is now at the back of the peloton. He gestures at the race car. He doesn't look very happy.
The race is still neutralised at the moment with motorbikes sat at the front of the bunch. The breakaway is no more, it appears.
The organisers are trying with little success to get the riders to stop as they try to let the breakaway get the gap they previously had. This is utter chaos.
The bunch has finally stopped, but there seems to be come confusion as to who was in the breakaway. Perhaps they should be reading Cyclingnews!
Seven riders are on their way, sans Lukas Postlberger. He was late to the party and he's now trying to bridge the gap.
Postlberger does a quick interview with Sporza along the way and takes the opportunity to hold onto the motorbike too. He could get into trouble for that but it's been so chaotic that he may get away with that.
The leaders are onto the Kluisberg as the peloton gets underway. The roads are narrow so the race vehicles are having issues getting up to the front of the peloton.
Trek-Segafredo - who have a team in both the men's and women's race - report that the stoppage was due to an ambulance going the wrong way up the course following a bad crash in the women's race. No official news from the organiser just yet.
We'll try to bring a bit more clarification on the whole situation once we know.
A crash in the bunch. Philipsen is one of them and Dilier is another. AG2R La Mondiale is having no luck.
It looks like Philipsen and Dilier touched wheels near the front of the peloton. All of the riders that crashed are up again.
Over in the women's race, there is a very strong break off the front of the peloton with the likes of Niewiadoma, Brand, Longo Borghini, Van Vleuten and Bastianelli in there. They have 44km to go.
65km remaining from 183km
Back in the men's race, there is a rider attacking off the front of the peloton. The breakaway has 2:26 on the third climb of the day.
Dries De Bondt is the attacker and we have another from Direct Energie now going clear.
The peloton is breaking up as the riders hit the Knokteberg. It looks like Van der Poel has attacked.
There is now a group of five chasing. They are: Van der Poel, Asgreen, Garcia Cortina, De Bondt and Turgis.
60km remaining from 183km
The chasers are still 2:24 behind the leaders while the peloton is chasing hard behind.
It is UAE Team Emirates that is doing the chasing at the moment. QuickStep have Asgreen in that chasing group so they're not lending a hand.
Van der Poel is doing plenty of work in this chasing group. Even though he has a teammate, he isn't resting on his laurels. He wants to make this work.
Van der Poel puts in a little dig and he pulls out a good gap. Asgreen is forced to shut it down.
Van der Poel has really thrown himself into the Classics and he's not short of confidence, telling reporters last week that he would see himself among the favourites for the Tour of Flanders.
The race is slowly coming together, the chasers are just 1:20 behind the leaders but the peloton is only around 40 seconds behind them. Around two minutes covers the whole race.
The riders are on a relentless section of climbs, with little respite between each of them. The Taaienberg is coming up very soon, which should do plenty more damage to the bunch.
Up front, Oliveira has decided to go it alone. He has 20 seconds as he heads up Berg ten Houte. He's already completed the Taaienberg.
Van der Poel and his cohorts are on Berg ten Houte. The Dutch champion puts in a mighty effort. With him are Garcia Cortina and Turgis. They catch and pass Raim from the breakaway.
48km remaining from 183km
In the peloton, Tiesj Benoot has attacked and he's pulled out a gap. He's taken a few riders with him, including defending champion Lampaert.
That Benoot move has been reeled back in by what is left of the peloton. Only about 40 riders left in the main group.
More attacks coming from the main group, things are really ramping up.
Riders in that front group include Mohoric, Valverde, Lampaert, Benoot, Laporte and more. They are 1:22 behind Oliveira.
44km remaining from 183km
The Van der Poel group is 55 seconds behind Oliveira and it looks like they may well be swept up by the bunch soon enough.
Teams taking the small moment of calm to re-sort themselves in the peloton. Direct Energie, Sky, QuickStep and UAE Team Emirates all trying to get in the front.
Oliveira plugging away at the front. Meanwhile, the Van der Poel's group is about to make contact with the other escapees. They are 41 seconds behind the Portuguese rider.
Philippe Gilbert has abandoned the race. No reason given by the team, perhaps he is saving his legs for the weekend.
In the women's race, Lucinda Brand has attacked from that elite leading group. She took a hard knock at De Panne last week, but she seems ok today. They have just 17km to go.
Oliveira still looking pretty comfortable at the moment, but the gap is trickling down. Lotto Soudal is leading the bunch and giving it beans at the moment.
The Van der Poel chase group is 36 seconds behind Oliveira, while the peloton is 1:17.
The roads are fairly wide at the moment and the bunch is spread across it. Lotto Soudal pull off the front and Owain Doull has picked things up for Team Sky.
35km remaining from 183km
All of this effort is reaping reward for the bunch as QuickStep now move to the front. Iljo Keisse is pulling the bunch along and the gap has fallen to 54 seconds. The chasers in no man's land are 30 seconds back.
The cars are pulling out of the gap and it won't be long before Oliveira is caught. Next up is the Knokteberg.
It's all about to come together as the riders reach the Knokteberg. Postlberger attacks from the second group on the road.
Oliveria looks over his shoulder and he can see Postlberger coming up behind him. Van der Poel is leading the chase behind.
Meanwhile, Benoot attacks from the peloton with Jungels.
They quickly sweep up the Van der Poel group.
Postlberger catches Oliveira but the front of the group of favourites is not too far behind.
31km remaining from 183km
So, Benoot, Jungels, Van der Poel and Turgis have formed a chasing group after that attack on the Knokteberg.
This is a mighty ride by Van der Poel, but he has done so much work today that you have to ask what he'll have left in the finale.
Grondahl Jansen and Sutterlin have attacked from the peloton on this slight downhill stretch. Riders all over the road at the moment.
Not much between all of these groups. Oliveira and Postlberger have just 15 seconds on the chasers with the peloton a further 10 seconds back.
Grondahl Jansen and Sutterlin were brought back. Plenty of action still at the front of the peloton. Mohoric is up there for Bahrain-Merida. He's a good outside bet for today.
27km remaining from 183km
A mechanical for Oliveira and that's his day done really. Postlberger on his own now and Oliveira has been passed by the chasing group.
Heartbreak for Oliveira as he is brought back by the peloton. Up front, Postlberger has been caught by Benoot, Jungels et al.
The leaders hit the Varentstraat sector of cobbles. Peloton also on them.
After all of that action, we have just two main groups on the road. This leading group of five, followed by the reduced peloton. Just 20 seconds between the two groups.
As I write that, Arnaud Demare attacks with one of the CCC riders. They have just a small gap as others try to bridge across.
It's worth noting, there are three national champions in this lead group. Jungels (Luxembourg), Postlberger (Austria) and Van der Poel (Netherlands). They have 27 seconds now.
More attacks comeing from the bunch and Demare and Van Hooydonck have plenty of company. The peloton is thinning out with each move.
While there is discord in the peloton as riders keep trying to get away, the five leaders are working very well together. They're building their lead at this point and now have 38 seconds on the peloton.
22km remaining from 183km
Demare is on the attack again with Calmajane, while Moscon is trying to bridge across with two other riders.
Onto the Vossenhol for the leaders and they have just two more climbs to go after this.
Oliveira is in that move with Moscon and they have bridged up to Demare.
Hugo Houle is also in that Demare group. They have a very small gap on the peloton behind.
Over in the women's race, Ellen van Dijk has just completed an impressive solo ride to take victory. A very good sign of her form heading into the weekend.
17km remaining from 183km
The Demare/Moscon group is back with the peloton and Kung is now pulling the peloton along. The leaders now have 48 seconds. This could succeed.
Benoot is pushing the pace in the lead group. He's testing the legs of his rivals.
Cortina now working on the front of the peloton after spending time in the breakaway. Still around 40 riders in the peloton, including some pretty fast men.
For the first time in a while, I can see some Trek-Segafredo jerseys. They were having a difficult Classics until Degenkolb's podium place at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.
14km remaining from 183km
The peloton seems to be working much better together, but it might be too little too late. The gap to the leaders is 52 seconds.
A lot of chat going on in the bunch at the moment and the chase seems to slow. It's going to be a tough ask for them to catch the leaders at this point. The peloton is in single file under the high pace being set.
The leaders rolling through and out like they're in a team time trial. No games yet, they want to keep this peloton at bay.
It is FDJ that is doing the bulk of the work with Astana and EF Education First coming up towards the front. QuickStep do not need to do anything as they have Jungels up front, while Lotto Soudal has Benoot. Ordinarily, these two teams would be helping, but they have no reason to now.
The leaders are now onto the Nokereberg, the final climb of the day. They still have 51 seconds.
Jungels puts in a dig on the left side of the road, but Van der Poel reacts immediately on the right. They pull out a gap as they meet each other at the top.
The other three riders were dropped on that small climb, but it all comes back together. Turgis had to go really deep and overcooked a corner. He stays upright, though, as he rides through the grass.
6km remaining from 183km
The leaders still rolling through, nobody appears to be missing a turn. However, Jungels is doing a large chunk of the work. They still have 47 seconds on the peloton.
The leaders reach the final sector of cobbles, but it's all calm at the moment.
It's hard to pick a winner out of this group. Postlberger and Turgis have decent sprints, but they will have to hang on to the fast pace being set by the others. Van der Poel has a good kick in him too but he's done so much work today. Benoot and Jungels will likely need to attack if they want to win.
The gap is coming down, but it's ever so slowly. These five should have more than enough to fight it out between themselves.
3km remaining from 183km
Turgis has been struggling on the small undulations and he looks likely to be dropped if there is a proper attack.
Jungels accidentally leaves a gap and he has to put in an effort to close it.
2km remaining from 183km
Lots of looking over the shoulders from the leaders. They're waiting, expecting an attack to come.
It's almost like a track sprint as the riders glance over their shoulders. Who will be the first to blink?
Under the flamme rouge. Still all together
It's all back together
500 to go
It's a stand-off between the five
Van der Poel passes him and takes the win
Luke Rowe takes the sprint from the group behind but that's just for sixth place.
It looks like there was a crash in the peloton. Theuns and Debusschere seemed to be involved.
An impressive ride from Van der Poel. He did so much work after making that early attack, but he still had enough in the tank to take that sprint quite comfortably. He sat up with about 20 metres to go and celebrated.
Turgis took second on the line, behind Van der Poel. They were well clear of the other riders. It looked like Jungels came through for third.
This is a very different race to the Tour of Flanders but it bodes well for a decent result for Van der Poel at the weekend. Nevertheless, this is the biggest win of Van der Poel's road career so far.
An impressive ride from Polstberger also, who was the only rider remaining from the original breakaway.
Here is how the top 10 shook out in the end
1 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus
2 Anthony Turgis (Fra) Direct Energie
3 Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-QuickStep
4 Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky
7 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
8 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
9 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
10 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida
A few words from today's winner, Mathieu van der Poel.
"I had to make sure that nobody came from behind, I just looked when Turgis went. I felt there was a sprint in my legs and I just finished it off. It was an instinctive moment really Garcia Cortina reacted and I went with him. I think it was a perfect moment to anticipate everyone else.
"It wasn't a special moment when I crashed the other week [at Nokere Koerse] it's a very hard race. This was a very hard race too, only 180km today but this Sunday we go nearly 100km more. I don't see myself as a favourite for Sunday yet, we'll see what happens."
A brilliant photo from the finish line. The agony of defeat for Turgis and the ecstasy of victory for Van der Poel.
And here is Ellen van Dijk celebrating her solo win. It was a pretty good day for the Dutch today.
Turgis looked pretty disappointed on the line but he was a bit more pragmatic when he spoke behind the podium. It's a decent result for him with some big races to come.
"Well the first part of the race, of course the Knokteberg was the prefect place to attack and I knew it would be a fast finish. The peloton didn't want to let us have too much of a gap and we tried to resist the peloton and surprise everyone behind. We know Mathieu [van der Poel] is very quick in the sprint and I knew at 100m to go he was already on my wheel and it would be difficult. At least I had a good try and sprinted properly.
"We have a really strong team for Tour of Flanders and we know how to race right. [Sunday] is another race."
This is what Jungels had to say after taking third place today.
"It was a complicated race. Before the Kluisberg we were stopped and there was some panic in the bunch. In the end we decided to just go and try something and split up the group. We knew that riders like Mathieu [van der Poel] were in front, it wasn't the moment to wait so we bridged across with Tiesj [Benoot].
"I don't want to say the final was too easy for me but there wasn't a moment I could make a real difference. The only moment really was after the last cobbles on the little bridge, it was a mistake by me to come first out of that sector and I had to attack from the front which isn't ideal against these two guys.
"For me, it's still very hard to see myself as a favourite for the Tour of Flanders, it's the first time I do these races but I'm well aware I am in good shape. I will do the best I can to be up there. Normally a race over 250km suits me better than a distance like today so I'm happy and we'll see on Sunday what we can do. We've got the strongest team so far [this season], so on Sunday we can play a few cards."
Here is another great image of Mathieu van der Poel during the race.
This was the last opportunity for the Classics riders to tune themselves up for the Tour of Flanders this weekend. From now on, it's a case of trying to recover, some light training and a recon of the Flanders route.
Full results and a full report are now in. A reminder that you can find it all here.
That's all from our live coverage today. Tune in at the weekend for our coverage of the Tour of Flanders.
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