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Tag: Spring Classics
‘Jake Stewart, Great Britain?’ Second in the u23 Gent-Wevelgem and third in the Trofeo Piva in Italy, strong results – but we know that name... Ah! Yes, he and Fred Wright won the Berlin Six u23 race in 2017 and VeloVeritas was their official photographer for the day best have a word with the man...
Quickstep's win total for the year now stands at 24 with the victories not just down to one man but spread across the team – remarkable. How do they do it? To find out, we got in touch with our old friend and key leadout man in the QuickStep machine, Michael Mørkøv - who was instrumental in Jakobsen’s most recent triumph and similarly ‘pilot fished’ Hodeg to a stage win in the Tour of Catalonia – to get ‘the word’ from the horse’s mouth.
"Ooooohhhhhhh!" The moan echoes around the bar; these boys are aficionados, they all know that solid Astana Dane, Michael Valgren Andersen isn't coming back - he timed his jump to perfection, there was that fatal second or two of hesitation among the frozen men behind him and he was gone, en route to win Het Nieuwsblad 2018. Big Pole Lukasz Wisniowski (Sky) takes second with the only Belgian who properly 'honoured the race,' big Sep Vanmarcke (EF) taking third place.
In the Flèche Wallonne - just for a few minutes, as the much diminished peloton ran in towards Huy and the final gun fight on the Mur - it looked like Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal might just steal it. The 31 year-old Garmin ex-mountain biker in company with Norwegian Sky man, Lars Petter Nordhaug blasted big gears into the foot of the hill. They made the right turn, on to the notorious gradient with 13 seconds in hand – it wasn’t enough.
Sep Vanmarcke instigated the main splits of the day, survived the many crashes on the slippy roads, rode strongly in the breaks and the final winning move, foxed and feigned heavy legs beautifully in the last couple of kilometres and finished the day with a fine accelerating power-sprint win over Tom Boonen and Juan Antonio Flecha.
And so the warm weather (excluding Tour of the Med) precursors to the bike season proper have concluded. Down Under, Qatar, Oman, Algarve, etc have all had their brief moments in the spotlight, Langkawi has kicked off with a win to Zab in the time trial (no surprises that Zab is nowhere near the Classics! Not a sketchy conditions type of rider is the great DZ.) Now we head to the heartland of the sport and the portion of the season where the hardmen have their moments to shine.
It was a difficult phone call to make, he picked up on the tone of my voice at once; 'no, don't tell me, please!' But it was best he heard it from me; 'Flecha, he won Het Nieuwsblad well, Viktor, sorry!' 'That's it, I'm finished with Pro Cycling, for good!'