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Florian Sénéchal wins Primus Classic

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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 Florian Senechal of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep celebrates at finish line as race winner ahead of Tosh Van Der Sande of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal L during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Five-up sprint won by Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-QuickStep) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 Florian Senechal of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep celebrates at finish line as race winner ahead of Tosh Van Der Sande of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal L during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-QuickStep) celebrates win at the line (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 Florian Senechal of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep celebrates at finish line as race winner ahead of Tosh Van Der Sande of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal L during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-QuickStep) wins Primus Classic (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 Florian Senechal of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep celebrates with a beer at podium as race winner during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Winner Florian Sénéchal of France and Team Deceuninck - QuickStep on the podium (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 LR Second classified Tosh Van Der Sande of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal first classified Florian Senechal of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep and third classified Jasper Stuyven of Belgium and Team Trek Segafredo pose on the podium after the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Podium (LtoR): Second place Tosh Van Der Sande of Lotto Soudal, winner Florian Sénéchal of Deceuninck-QuickStep and third place Jasper Stuyven of Trek - Segafredo (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 Julian Alaphilippe of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep competes during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Julian Alaphilippe rides in the world champion's jersey for Deceuninck-QuickStep preparing to defend the rainbow jersey title next week (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 Romain Combaud of France and Team DSM competes in the Breakaway during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Romain Combaud of France and Team DSM competes in the breakaway (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 Simone Consonni of Italy and Team Cofidis competes during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Simone Consonni of Italy and Team Cofidis during the 197.7km race (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 Laurens De Vreese of Belgium and Team AlpecinFenix leads The Peloton during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Laurens De Vreese of Belgium and Team Alpecin-Fenix leads the peloton (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix competes during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands and Team Alpecin-Fenix in the peloton and would make it into the 11-rider breakaway (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 LR Hideto Nakane of Japan and Team EF Education Nippo and Julian Alaphilippe of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep compete during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Julian Alaphilippe and several Deceuninck-QuickStep accelerated to make the lead group selection (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 LR Florian Senechal of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep and Jasper Stuyven of Belgium and Team Trek Segafredo compete in the Breakaway during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Florian Senechal of France and Team Deceuninck - Quick-Step and Jasper Stuyven of Belgium and Team Trek - Segafredo compete in the breakaway (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 Florian Senechal of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep competes in the Breakaway during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Florian Senechal of France and Team Deceuninck - Quick-Step leading breakaway (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 Sing indicating Moskesstraat Cobblestone Sector during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Sign at a cobbled climb (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 LR Szymon Sajnok of Poland and Team Cofidis and Simon Clarke of Australia and Qhubeka Nexthash and Team compete during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

On the cobbles are Szymon Sajnok of Poland and Team Cofidis and Simon Clarke of Australia and Qhubeka Nexthash (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
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BOORTMEERBEEK BELGIUM SEPTEMBER 18 Julian Alaphilippe of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep leads The Breakaway during the 11th Primus Classic 2021 a 1977km race from Brakel to Boortmeerbeek Wespelaar Haacht primusclassic PrimusClassic on September 18 2021 in Boortmeerbeek Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) on a cobbled climb during breakaway (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-QuickStep) won the Primus Classic in a five-up sprint in Haacht, beating Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segfredo) to the line after his teammate Mikkel Honoré led out the sprint.

“We won as a team. The whole team worked very well and I wouldn’t have won without them today,” said Sénéchal. “Mikkel Honoré did a super job in the final, and I was able to think 100% about the sprint.”

As is so often the case in one-day races in this corner of the world, the story of the race was dictated by Deceuninck-QuickStep’s numerical superiority, with the men in blue present on the front at every key juncture.

The winning move had its genesis in Julian Alaphilippe’s rasping acceleration on the final cobbled climb of Bekestraat with 35km to go. This was the Frenchman’s final outing on the rainbow jersey before he puts his world title on the line next weekend, and his effervescent display suggested he was determined to mark the occasion in style.

Alaphilippe had already been prominent in marking a move by Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) following the Moskesstraat. If the race was fraying at the seams at that point, it was ripped apart on the Bekestraat, where Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Van der Poel and Van Der Sande could match Alaphilippe’s initial surge, with seven more riders bridging across over the top.

When the dust settled, there were five Deceuninck-QuickStep riders in a move of eleven riders, with Alaphilippe, Ballerini, Sénéchal, Honoré and Zdenek Stybar facing Van der Poel, Stuyven, Van der Sande, Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-NextHash and Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-NextHash).

Mindful of the threat posed by Van der Poel’s strength and Nizzolo’s finishing speed, Deceuninck-QuickStep soon set about attacking in turn, and the decisive break went clear thanks to Honoré’s acceleration with 22km to go. The Dane was joined by his teammate Sénéchal, Stuyven, Clark and Van der Sande in front.

All eyes were on Van der Poel to close the gap after his earlier jousts with Alaphilippe, but the Dutchman suffered a most untimely puncture barely a kilometre later. That incident effectively ended his challenge and all but guaranteed that Sénéchal, Honoré et al would stay clear to the finish.

The five leaders combined smoothly to extend their advantage over the chasing group, which grew in size as it lost impetus, but their détente would expire on the run-in. The Deceuninck-QuickStep pairing were understandably wary of Stuyven’s speed and nous in the finale, and so they returned to the time-honoured template of attacking in turn.

Honoré was the first to go with 7km to go, with Simon Clarke marking his move. When he was brought back, Sénéchal kicked with only Van der Sande for company. Stuyven was prominent in pinning back each move, but he had to relent when Honoré went once more with Van der Sande with a little over 5km to go.

That looked like the winning move, particularly as Clark was distanced, leaving Stuyven without an ally. But despite Sénéchal’s policing presence on his wheel, Stuvyen summoned up the strength to make another determined chasing effort, and he brought Honoré and Van der Sande back with 2.5km to go.

Deceuninck-QuickStep hadn’t run out of ideas, however. Indeed, they hadn’t yet exhausted the possibilities of the original idea, as Honoré made two more accelerations with 1.8km to go and again just shy of the flamme rouge. On each occasion, Stuyven was pressed to chase and a little more of the venom was drawn out of his legs.

Inside the final kilometre, the pace dropped almost to a standstill, which allowed Clarke to latch back on, but the Australian was flagging and unable to rustle up a surprise attack. Instead, it came down to a small sprint, which Honoré led out on behalf of Sénéchal.

Stuyven attempted to come around, but he hadn’t the strength to do so, as Sénéchal powered through to claim the win ahead of Van der Sande.

Behind, Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-QuickStep) clipped away from the chasers to take 6th place at 53 seconds, while Stybar won the sprint for 7th ahead of Van der Poel, Nizzolo and Ballerini.

The victory was Sénéchal’s second of the season after his stage win at the Vuelta a España. His fellow countryman Alaphilippe was among the first to congratulate him on the triumph, and the pair will hope to combine to similar effect in Leuven next Sunday.

“It gives me confidence ahead of the Worlds, and it’s good for the French team because Julian rode very well today,” said Sénéchal, who acknowledged that the race had been an ideal warm-up for the main event next weekend.

“It was raced like a classic, with lots of small roads and short climbs. There was no waiting around. A lot of riders wanted to make the race and there was a lot of attacking, and the best riders were in front.”

Full results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 4:34:05
2Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
4Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
5Simon Clarke (Aus) Qhubeka NextHash 0:00:04
6Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
7Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:00
8Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
9Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash
10Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
11Matis Louvel (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
12Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
13Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
14Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
15Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
16Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
17Martin Urianstad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
18Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
19Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
20Michael Gogl (Aut) Qhubeka NextHash
21Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Team DSM
22Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
23Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
24Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
25Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
26Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
27Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Qhubeka NextHash
28Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
29Carlos Barbero (Spa) Qhubeka NextHash
30Dries De Pooter (Bel) SEG Racing Academy
31Amaury Capiot (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
32Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
33Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM
34Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
35Ward Vanhoof (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
36Hideto Nakane (Jpn) EF Education-Nippo
37Emils Liepins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:06
38Thymen Arensman (Ned) Team DSM
39Filippo Conca (Ita) Lotto Soudal
40Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Team Arkea-Samsic
41Lennert Teugels (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
42Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
43Andreas Goeman (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
44Thomas Joseph (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex 0:01:11
45Laurens Huys (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB 0:01:15
46Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education-Nippo
47Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:16
48Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis 0:01:19
49Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
50Sep Van Marcke (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:02:24
51Piotr Havik (Ned) Beat Cycling 0:05:43
52Jeroen Eyskens (Bel) Evopro Racing
53Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis 0:06:53
54Ruben Apers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
55Anton Palzer (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
56Conn McDunphy (Ire) EvoPro Racing
57Kamil Malecki (Pol) Lotto Soudal
58Ylber Sefa (Alb) Tarteletto-Isorex
59Aden Paterson (Aus) ABLOC CT
60Sébastien Grignard (Bel) Lotto Soudal
61Casper van Uden (Ned) Team DSM
62Stijn Siemons (Bel) EvoPro Racing
63Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
64Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
65Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
66Dillon Corkery (Ire) EvoPro Racing
67Szymon Sajnok (Pol) Cofidis
68Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Cofidis
69Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
70Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
71Alex Colman (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
72Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
73Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-Nippo
74Logan Owen (USA) EF Education-Nippo
75Anthony Jullien (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
76Martin Laas (Est) Bora-Hansgrohe
77Daniel Arroyave Cañas (Col) EF Education-Nippo
78Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
79Jordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe
80Felix Gall (Aut) Team DSM 0:09:12
81Jens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:11:33
82Nils Sinschek (Ned) Abloc CT
83Robin Juel Skivild (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
84Romain Combaud (Fra) Team DSM
85Connor Brown (NZl) Qhubeka NextHash
86Martijn Budding (Ned) Beat Cycling 0:16:19
87Cyrus Monk (Aus) Evopro Racing
88Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
89Lars Saugstad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
90Sven Burger (Ned) Beat Cycling 0:17:13
91Jan-Willem Van Schip (Ned) Beat Cycling
92Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Lotto Soudal
93Adriaan Janssen (Ned) Abloc CT
94Jacob Relaes (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
95Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
96Stefano Museeuw (Bel) Beat Cycling
97Jakob Egholm (Den) Trek-Segafredo 0:19:17
98Mārtiņš Pluto (Lat) Abloc CT
99Bernat Font (Spa) EvoPro Racing
100Stijn Appel (Ned) Abloc CT
101Winner Anacona (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
102Oskar Myrestøl Johansson (Nor) Uno-X Dare Development Team
103Bodi del Gorsso (Ned) Abloc CT
104Erlend Blikra (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
105Brendan Rhim (USA) Evopro Racing
106Dorian De Maeght (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
107Donavan Grondin (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
108Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Qhubeka NextHash
109Quentin Venner (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB 0:20:12
DNFAndreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFMatthew Walls (GBr) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFAxel Zingle (Ned) Cofidis
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFGuy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFAlexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo
DNFJonas Castrique (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
DNFGilles De Wilde (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFSindre Kulset (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFYoeri Havik (Ned) Beat Cycling
DNFBrent Van De Kerkhove (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
DNFRüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFAndré Carvalho (Por) Cofidis
DNFFumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) EF Education-Nippo
DNFRudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFMartin Salmon (Ger) Team DSM
DNFCharlie Quarterman (GBr) Trek-Segafredo
DNFSébastien Van Poppel (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNFJordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFJordy Bouts (Bel) Beat Cycling
DNFMaxime De Poorter (Bel) Tarteletto-Isorex
DNFAlexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
DNSRobbe Ghys (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNSTimothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
DSQChristophe Noppe (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
DSQFloris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
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