Van Baarle parlays 50km solo attack into Dwars door Vlaanderen victory

Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers) claimed a sensational solo victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen, celebrating in Waregem after riding alone for more than 50 kilometres.

A fast and chaotic edition of the midweek race raised big question marks ahead of the Tour of Flanders as Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Julian Alaphilippe – plus much of the world champion’s Deceuninck-QuickStep team – looked well off the pace.

Van Baarle, however, who had a strong showing at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, rode his way into the bracket of favourites for Sunday, holding off a string of chasing groups for more than an hour.

Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) was the last survivor of that chase, sprinting to second place at 25 seconds, while Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) was third as the main bunch caught up in the final kilometre.

“To win a semi-classic is super special. It’s really important. Last year was a difficult year with everything that happened, but now we are on the good way,” said Van Baarle.

“We’re approaching the Classics a bit differently this year – much more attacking. It’s nice to race like this. I’m happy I could finish it off.”

Van Baarle made his move on the Berg Ten Houte, the eighth of 13 short climbs on the menu in the Flemish Ardennes. At that point, after a fast start run off at nearly 50km/h, the race had just exploded on the Taaienberg.

Van der Poel was in the main group of 25 as the peloton split over the top, but Deceuninck-QuickStep were notable by their absence. Florian Sénéchal was their only representative as Alaphilippe and E3 winner Kasper Asgreen were well back, and Davide Ballerini fell away completely.

Van Baarle emerged in a lead group of seven and decided to attack them on the Ten Houte with 52km to go. There looked to be plenty of firepower in the groups behind, but he was never seen again.

The Dutchman was able to establish his advantage during a period of flux in the groups behind. However, it looked like the tables were about to turn when the race exploded again on the Knoketeberg with 36km to go. There, the chase was concentrated into a strong group of eight: Laporte, Sénéchal, Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën), Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka Assos), Luke Durbridge (Team BikeExchange), and Rui Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates).

Van der Poel, meanwhile, completely fell away on the climb. He was caught and passed by Alaphilippe, who made a stinging attack of his own to try to recover the situation, but both riders had to settle into the larger main bunch.

From there, Van Baarle steadily pressed on and maintained a largely stable 30-second advantage over the eight chasers. Van Avermaet did the forcing on the Vossenhol, while Stuyven gave it a nudge on the Holstraat, but the pace would dip between the accelerations. Still, it was hardly a mess of a chase, making Van Baarle’s performance all the more impressive.

Van der Poel did the lion’s share of the work in trying to bring the main bunch back, and almost ground to a halt when the job was done. By that point, however, they’d only reached the chasing eight, and Van Baarle was already savouring his first major one-day win.

How it unfolded

There were blue skies and warm conditions in Roeselare, with most of the riders in shorts and short sleeves. With 184 kilometres ahead of them, they were ready to race from the gun, and the opening hour saw them cover an eye-watering 50km.

A short neutralisation for a truck that had entered the course slowed their progress a little, but they hit the first climbs after 70km with no breakaway allowed to go clear. There were attempts on the Kluisberg and Nieuwe Kwaremont but it was only after that opening duo, with 85km to go, that a group went clear.

Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) sparked it, and was joined by Jelle Wallays (Cofidis) and Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), although the latter was dropped on the first ascent of the Knoketeberg. Hayter and Wallays only took 30 seconds over the Kortekeer, after which Elia Viviani (Cofidis)) crashed out of contention.

With 60km to go, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) started drilling it, leading down the Stationsberg descent and into the foot of the Taainberg. Up front, Van Avermaet and Laporte pressed on, while Asgreen and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) were caught at the back, while Ballerini seemed to explode completely. The bunch split into two groups of 25 over the top, with Alaphilippe and Asgreen both caught behind.

On the flat, Van Baarle went clear with Hayter, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Stan Dewulf (AG2R Citroen), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), and Bram Welten (Arkéa-Samsic). They barely had time to settle into their rhythm when Van Baarle decided to leave them behind on Berg Ten Houte.

Various attacks followed behind before things came back together in a group of 25. Van der Poel was there but Alaphilippe and Asgreen were still in the next group on the road and seemingly out of the picture.

Durbridge, Rui Oliveira, and Campenaerts attacked from the group and stayed away until the Knoketeberg with 36km to go. That’s where the action happened, as Van Avermaet’s forcing closed the gap and created the selection of nine behind Van Baarle, while Van der Poel fell away and Alaphilippe surged forward.

The world champion joined forces with Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) and the AG2R duo of Oliver Naesen and Michael Schär, but they soon had to settle back into the bunch, where Alpecin changed tack and looked to set up a sprint for Merlier, with Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) in there also.

By the Vossenhol, the third last climb with 22km to go, Van Baarle led the chasers by 30 seconds. The remnants of the earlier 25-man group were chasing 25 seconds further back as an 11, while the main bunch was another 25 seconds back. Van Avermaet accelerated again on the Vossenhol, with Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) dropped to leave eight, but Barguil’s calls for collaboration suggested things were uncoordinated. Campenaerts in particular looked reluctant to contribute, perhaps pointing to the presence of sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo in the group behind.

The penultimate climb of Holstraat soon followed, where Stuyven launched an attack, but failed to split the group. Durbridge was the next to go but the group kept coming back together, and Van Baarle’s lead kept nudging back out to 30 seconds.

With 14km to go, Politt and Ivan Garcia Cortina (Movistar) attacked from the third group on the road but didn’t stay out much longer as Alpecin-Fenix brought the main bunch back.

The final climb was the Knokereberg with 11km to go, and Van Avermaet attacked again, but as ever, the others responded comfortably enough. As they entered the final 5km, with the gap still 30 seconds to Van Baarle, any remaining urgency drained from the chase and the bunch was upon them under the flamme rouge.

There were a couple of last-ditch attacks, with Laporte successfully taking a gap into the home straight to claim second, but Merlier came through to lead the bunch home.

Meanwhile, Van Baarle was already soaking it up and no doubt looking forward to Sunday with renewed confidence.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers 3:58:59
2Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis 0:00:26
3Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
4Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
5Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
7Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
8Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
9Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
10Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
11Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
12Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
13Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange
14Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
15Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka Assos
16Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
17Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal WB
18Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
19Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
20Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
21Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
22Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
23Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM
24Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
25Owain Doull (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
26Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
27Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team
28Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
29Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
30Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
31Bram Welten (Ned) Team Arkea-Samsic
32Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Total Direct Energie
33Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
34Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Qhubeka Assos
35Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Movistar Team
36Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
37Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
38Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
39Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
40Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
41Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
42Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal
43Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
44Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
45Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo
46Michael Schär (Swi) AG2R Citroën Team
47Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
48Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
49Jelle Wallays (Bel) Cofidis
50Anthony Jullien (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
51Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:00:39
52Niki Terpstra (Ned) Total Direct Energie 0:00:46
53Cyril Lemoine (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:00:47
54Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:00:54
55Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Cofidis
56Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:09
57Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:01:12
58Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:01:41
59Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:01:58
60Damien Gaudin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
61Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team BikeExchange 0:02:00
62Silvan Dillier (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix 0:04:28
63Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
64Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation 0:05:45
65Juri Hollmann (Ger) Movistar Team
66Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
67Ruben Apers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:08:14
68Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
69Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
70Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
71Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
72Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
73Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
74Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ
75Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
76Patrick Gamper (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
77Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
78Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Team DSM
79Niklas Märkl (Ger) Team DSM
80Mathias Norsgaard (Den) Movistar Team
81Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
82Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal WB
83Luc Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal WB
84Sébastien Grignard (Bel) Lotto Soudal
85Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto Soudal
86Hugo Houle (Can) Astana-Premier Tech
87Jack Bauer (NZl) Team BikeExchange
88Tom Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal WB
89Jonathan Milan (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
90Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Jumbo-Visma
91Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar Team
92Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
93Emil Vinjebo (Den) Team Qhubeka Assos
94Michal Golas (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers
95Florian Maitre (Fra) Total Direct Energie
96André Carvalho (Por) Cofidis
97Fabian Lienhard (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
98Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
99Frederik Backaert (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
100Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
101Leonardo Basso (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
102Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
103Alex Edmondson (Aus) Team BikeExchange
104Maarten Wynants (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
105Bert De Backer (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
106Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
107Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
108Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Team Qhubeka Assos
109Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo
110Stijn Steels (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
111Wesley Kreder (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
112Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
113Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain Victorious
114Cameron Wurf (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
115Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
116Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
117Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
118Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education-Nippo
119Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Education-Nippo
120Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo
121Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain Victorious
122Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
123Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNSEdward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
DNSAlberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-Nippo
DNSJonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education-Nippo
DNFJonas Rickaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFDavide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
DNFIvo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
DNFKoen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
DNFRyan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo
DNFQuinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo
DNFAndreas Nielsen (Den) Team Qhubeka Assos
DNFNils Eekhoff (Ned) Team DSM
DNFAlberto Dainese (Ita) Team DSM
DNFSøren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM
DNFJoris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team DSM
DNFLuka Mezgec (Slo) Team BikeExchange
DNFBarnabás Peák (Hun) Team BikeExchange
DNFAlexander Konychev (Ita) Team BikeExchange
DNFJohan Jacobs (Swi) Movistar Team
DNFFrederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFFlorian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFEdoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma
DNFDavid Dekker (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
DNFOlav Kooij (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
DNFAlexis Renard (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFNorman Vahtra (Est) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFGuillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFLudwig De Winter (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFTobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ
DNFTom Scully (NZl) EF Education-Nippo
DNFElia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
DNFTom Bohli (Swi) Cofidis
DNFKenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis
DNFJordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFNikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFArtyom Zakharov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFBenjamin Perry (Can) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFJulien Duval (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
DNFChristophe Noppe (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFBenjamin Declercq (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFDaniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFAdrien Petit (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFGeoffrey Soupe (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFJens Debusschere (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFMilan Menten (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNFLaurenz Rex (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNFLudovic Robeet (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNFJens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFAaron Van Poucke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFWard Vanhoof (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise

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Patrick Fletcher
Deputy Editor

Deputy Editor. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2022 he has been Deputy Editor, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.

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