Philipsen beats Bennett to win Scheldeprijs

Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) claimed victory at Scheldeprijs, beating the Deceuninck-QuickStep duo of Sam Bennett and Mark Cavendish to the line in Schoten.

It was the 23-year-old Belgian’s first win for Alpecin-Fenix, having joined from UAE Team Emirates over the winter, and his team pulled off something of a heist to deny QuickStep a fifth win in six years.

The Belgian WorldTour team placed five of their seven riders in the front group of 30 as the peloton split in the early winds in Zeeland, and then controlled the pace in that group on the three laps of the finishing circuit around Schoten. They even had a four-man lead-out train going into the final kilometre. 

But they came undone when Alpecin-Fenix suddenly came storming up in the final 500 metres. The second-division squad had lost their other sprinter, Tim Merlier, to a crash and had largely been passengers in the front group, but Dries De Bondt and Jonas Rickaert propelled Philipsen to the front in remarkable fashion.

Michael Mørkøv perhaps found himself on the front too early, and Rickaert breezed past him and then in front of him as Philipsen opened his sprint. A panicked Bennett found himself with little room for manouevre and stuttered as he looked to get into Philipsen’s slipstream and out into open road, but by then it was too late.

Despite Bennett appearing to be the chosen sprinter for Deceuninck-QuickStep, Cavendish opted to sweep on the Irishman’s wheel rather than help lead him out, and he trailed him all the way to the podium. It was the three-time Scheldeprijs winner’s best result in a number of years, but having two sprinters on the lower steps of the podium is never the best look.

Nor was it a great look for Bora-Hansgrohe, who also had five riders in the front group, including their lead sprinter Pascal Ackermann, who could only manage sixth, behind Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Clément Russo (Arkéa-Samsic)

Not that Philipsen was complaining, with European champion Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka Assos) also among the list of top class sprinters he put to the sword.

“There were a lot of good sprinters here at the start, so to win this race is really nice,” he said. “There was a high level of sprinters at the finish line who I beat now, so that gives me confidence for the next races.” 

How it unfolded

Despite overnight snow and hail, the conditions caused no disruption to the planned running of the 108th edition of the one-day race. It was bitterly cold at the start across the Dutch border in Terneuzen, but the precipitation had been and gone. The wind, however, was still strong making for a hectic start as it crossed onto the middle peninsular of the Zeeland province, a flat and exposed area of delta land.

The brisk north-westerly made it a tailwind in the opening phase of the race and the first hour was ticked off at an eye-watering 51 kph. It took just 17 kilometres for the race to split, after a string of early crashes took several riders, including Kristoffer Halvorsen (Uno-X Pro Cycling) out of the race. The bunch split in three at first, but the groups steadily came back together after 40 or so kilometres of racing.

It was another crash that seemed to spark the decisive split with 55km on the clock. Suddenly an elite group of 13 was clear: Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal), Pascal Ackermann, Nils Politt, Michael Schwarzmann, Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Sam Bennett, Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Norman Vahtra (Israel Start-Up Nation), Giacomo Nizzolo, Max Walscheid (Qhubeka Assos), Jasper Philipsen, Jonas Rickaert (Alpecin-Fenix) and Clément Russo (Arkéa-Samsic).

The gaps were small but remained stable for several kilometres as the race continued at full tilt. The second group contained 15 riders and fought to keep themselves in contention. In there were: Stan Dewulf, Marc Sarreau, (AG2R-Citroën), Rüdiger Selig (Bora-Hansgrohe), Mark Cavendish, Florian Sénéchal, Bert Van Lerberghe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jonas Koch (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Cees Bol (Team DSM), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Luca Mozzato (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Evaldas Siskevicius (Delko), Dries Van Gestel (Total Direct Energie), Jan-Willem Van Schip, Luuc Bugter, Piotr Havik (BEAT Cycling).

Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) were in there at the beginning, but crashed and had to slot into the third group on the road. Elia Viviani (Cofidis), meanwhile, missed out completely.

With 100km to go, the lead group had 40 seconds on the second group, and another minute on the larger third group. With Deceuninck-QuickStep in particular possessing reinforcements in group two, the front group eased a little and the two groups merged to create a 32-rider lead group with 75km to go. 

By that point, they were onto the mainland and the wind was less of a factor, allowing the race to slot into a less chaotic pattern. They entered the finishing circuit and crossed the finish line for the first time with 50km to go, at which point the gap stood at 2:20. 

On the first of three full laps of the 16.7km finishing circuit – containing the Broekstraat cobblestone sector – Sénéchal and Burghardt did the bulk of the work up front, while the Alpecin-Fenix trio were content to sit at the back. In the chase group, meanwhile, Kristoff’s UAE finally began to mount a proper chase, Viviani’s Cofidis having taken the lion’s share of responsibility before that.

By the end of the first lap, the gap was down to 2:05, and it continued to fall on the second lap as Israel Start-Up Nation – working for Hugo Hofstetter and Rudy Barbier –  and Bingoal Wallonnie Bruxelles – for Timothy Dupoint – joined the chase. However, Sénéchal and Burghardt kept them at a comfortable distance. Despite a brief acceleration from Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka Assos) in the chase, the lead group crossed the line for the penultimate time with a lead of 1:35. 

The situation remained stable on the final lap. UAE continued to chase a lost cause behind, with Vegard Stake Laengen accelerating fiercely on Broekstraat, but by that point the gap was still 1:20 with 7km to go. Up front Sénéchal and Burghardt traded turns all the way to the final 3.5km. At that point, the route turned right away from the Schelde river and up towards the finish. Sénéchal dropped away as the rest of QuickStep got organized behind, but Burghardt stayed on the front until 2.5km to go.

As he started to ease and look around, a Beat rider launched an attack. It was closed down by Van Lerberghe, but followed by another attack from Van Moer with 2km to go. Van Lerberghe shut it down again and took control of the pace, while Mørkøv sat in front of Bennett and Cavendish guarded his rear wheel.

AG2R took up the lead out but QuickStep soon moved to the front, with Van Lerberghe peeling off to leave Mørkøv to take it up from range. Alpecin-Fenix produced a stunning surge to come up and move past with more speed, throwing the QuickStep train off the rails and putting Philipsen into a position where he almost couldn’t lose.

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Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 4:03:30
2Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 1 - Cell 2
3Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 2 - Cell 2
4Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert MatériauxRow 3 - Cell 2
5Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-SamsicRow 4 - Cell 2
6Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 5 - Cell 2
7Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels p/b KTMRow 6 - Cell 2
8Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka AssosRow 7 - Cell 2
9Marc Sarreau (Fra) AG2R Citroën TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Total Direct EnergieRow 9 - Cell 2
11Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) DelkoRow 10 - Cell 2
12Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Qhubeka AssosRow 11 - Cell 2
13Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Alpecin-FenixRow 12 - Cell 2
14Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 13 - Cell 2
15Jan Willem van Schip (Ned) Beat CyclingRow 14 - Cell 2
16Norman Vahtra (Est) Israel Start-up NationRow 15 - Cell 2
17Luuc Bugter (Ned) Beat CyclingRow 16 - Cell 2
18Piotr Havik (Ned) Beat CyclingRow 17 - Cell 2
19Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 18 - Cell 2
20Cees Bol (Ned) Team DSMRow 19 - Cell 2
21Søren Wærenskjold (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
23Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:07
24Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
25Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:16
26Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team 0:00:17
27Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:20
28Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
29Jonas Koch (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
30Dusan Rajovic (Srb) Delko 0:01:21
31Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
32Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie
33Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
34Yoeri Havik (Ned) Beat Cycling
35Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
36Cyril Lemoine (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
37John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
38Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
39Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
40Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
41Arvid de Kleijn (Ned) Rally Cycling
42Matis Louvel (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
43Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Pol) Bingoal WB
44Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
45Anthony Jullien (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
46Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
47Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal WB
48Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rom) Delko
49Martin Bugge Urianstad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
50Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
51Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
52Pierre Barbier (Fra) Delko
53Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
54Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
55Christophe Noppe (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
56Martijn Budding (Ned) Beat Cycling
57Aaron Verwilst (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
58Alberto Dainese (Ita) Team DSM
59Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
60Bert De Backer (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
61Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal WB
62Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
63Damien Touze (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
64Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
65Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
66Senne Leysen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
67Wesley Kreder (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
68Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
69Shane Archbold (NZl) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:30
70Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
71August Jensen (Nor) Delko
72Lars Saugstad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
73Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Total Direct Energie 0:01:32
74Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:33
75Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis 0:01:50
76Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:01:55
77Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis 0:02:23
DNFRiccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFMichaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Evopro Racing
DNFDamien Gaudin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFJonathan Brown (USA) Evopro Racing
DNFJeroen Eyskens (Bel) Evopro Racing
DNFSean Nolan (Irl) Evopro Racing
DNFVitor Zucco Schizzi (Bra) Evopro Racing
DNFMarten Kooistra (Ned) Beat Cycling
DNFFlorian Maitre (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFLasse Norman Hansen (Den) Team Qhubeka Assos
DNFBen Walsh (Irl) Evopro Racing
DNFLorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFNiklas Märkl (Ger) Team DSM
DNFHugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFMaximiliano Richeze (Arg) UAE Team Emirates
DNFOskar Nisu (Est) Evopro Racing
DNFMartin Salmon (Ger) Team DSM
DNFKristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFCasper van Uden (Ned) Development Team DSM
DNFTaco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFJenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFGuillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFFrederik Rodenberg Madsen (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFNikias Arndt (Ger) Team DSM
DNFNiklas Larsen (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFStefano Museeuw (Bel) Beat Cycling
DNFJulius Johansen (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFAdrien Petit (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFThimo Willems (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFAndreas Nielsen (Den) Team Qhubeka Assos
DNFBram Welten (Ned) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFSean De Bie (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNFDonavan Grondin (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFFrederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFRoger Kluge (Ger) Lotto Soudal
DNFGerben Thijssen (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFFlorian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFRobbe Ghys (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFYevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFDaniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFBenjamin Perry (Can) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFArtyom Zakharov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFGleb Brussenskiy (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFMartin Laas (Est) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFAndreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFSzymon Sajnok (Pol) Cofidis
DNFKenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis
DNFJelle Wallays (Bel) Cofidis
DNFTom Bohli (Swi) Cofidis
DNFLawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
DNFJonas Castrique (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNFMatteo Pelucchi (Ita) Team Qhubeka Assos
DNFIvo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
DNFRui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
DNFAlex Richardson (GBr) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFJérémy Lecroq (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFJonas Van Genechten (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFSasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFLaurenz Rex (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNFBoris Vallee (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNFClément Carisey (Fra) Delko
DNFKenny De Ketele (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFJulien Morice (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFArne Marit (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFJosé Gonçalves (Por) Delko
DNFNickolas Zukowsky (Can) Rally Cycling
DNFMagnus Sheffield (USA) Rally Cycling
DNFPier Andre Cote (Can) Rally Cycling
DNFRobin Carpenter (USA) Rally Cycling
DNFWard Vanhoof (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise

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