Bettiol stuns favorites with solo escape to take Flanders

Alberto Bettiol (EF-Education First) launched himself on the final ascent of the Oude-Kwaremont to take his first professional win, and one of the biggest in his team’s history at the Tour of Flanders, Sunday. After a strong showing through the early classics, the Italian soloed to victory, holding off a group that included so many fast-men that none were willing to drag each other toward a potential sprint finale.

After a long time in the break, Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was able to sprint from the chase group to take second, with Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) taking third.

“I don’t know how I did it,” said Bettiol. “I felt really good on the Kwaremont and Andreas (Klier) from the car said: ‘If you can, just go.’ I closed my eyes and went….. From now on you (people) should look out more for the pink in the front.”

As is typical of the Tour of Flanders, the action only truly commenced with 60km to go, as the race approached the Oude-Kwaremont for the second time. The peloton was all largely together, except for 2018 champion Niki Terpstra (Direct Energie), who crashed early in the race and was taken away to hospital. He was later confirmed to be OK, but will not be racing at Paris-Roubaix next weekend. Having double punctured and crashed heavily on a descent with 70km to go, pre-race favorite Mathieu van der Poel (Corend0n-Circus) was chasing furiously to catch on to the main peloton.

A group of dangermen went away on the Kwaremont, made up of Stijn Vandenbergh (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Sep Vanmarcke (EF-Education First), and Asgreen. Shortly afterward, Dylan van Baarle (Team Sky) bridged to form a quartet at the front of the race.

Vanderburgh was the first to crack and fall back from the breakaway as the race hit the Taaienbergh, at which point the pace was sky high, and the peloton was rapidly shelling riders out of the back, as the constant fight for position going into the bergs and fierce effort over the cobbles bit.

With 30km to go, van der Poel had made it back into the peloton and recovered after his huge effort, and promptly started animating the group, attacking on the Kruisberg, drawing out reactions from Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Greg van Avermaet (CCC-Team).

The final double-header of the Kwaremont and Paterberg climbs approached, and Vanmarcke looked to have cracked, falling back out of the break into the group of chasers, which now numbered only 20-25 riders. However, with teammates Bettiol and Sebastian Langeveld both in the bunch, this later appeared to be a clever tactical move.

EF-Education First set Bettiol loose on the final climb of the Kwaremont, by which point all the breakaway men had been caught. As has been common all season, van Avermaet was one of the first to respond in leading a chase, yet with Langeveld disrupting the rhythm, and the sheer ferocity of Bettiol’s acceleration, the Italian was 10 seconds in the lead by the summit of the berg.

Bettiol grew his lead over the final climb of the Paterberg, and found himself with around a 20-second lead with just the final flat run into Oudenaarde to contend with.

“On the Paterberg I don’t think I lost a lot and then it was the longest 14km of my life,” the winner remarked.

The chase group included an array of fast-men who could win from a sprint, notably Michael Matthews (Sunweb), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Kristoff, van Avermaet, and Valverde.

After initial testing moves by Sagan and van Avermaet, the chase group neutralized itself, none willing to commit to the chase. Langeveld continued to sit near the front of the group, constantly disrupting any momentum they did gain. Meanwhile, up the road, despite the visual signs of fatigue in his form, Bettiol was starting to grow his lead, and the chasers wasted their chance at bringing him back.

“I knew Sebastian (Langeveld) was there protecting me,” said Bettiol. “Sep (Vanmarcke) did an amazing job too; a champion like him worked for us all day.”

The 25-year-old crossed the line 14 seconds ahead of second-place Asgreen, who attacked from the chasers in the final half-kilometer. Having been in the break for so long, the young Dane took a well-deserved podium, with Kristoff easily winning the sprint for third. Van der Poel took a well-deserved fourth place after crashing so heavily, chasing back, and then repeatedly attacking in the dying stages of the race.

Ronde van Vlaanderen – Tour des Flandres One Day Race Results

Rank Name Team Time
1 BETTIOL Alberto EF Education First 6:18:49
2 ASGREEN Kasper Deceuninck – Quick Step 0:14
3 KRISTOFF Alexander UAE-Team Emirates 0:17
4 VAN DER POEL Mathieu Corendon – Circus ,,
5 POLITT Nils Team Katusha – Alpecin ,,
6 MATTHEWS Michael Team Sunweb ,,
7 NAESEN Oliver AG2R La Mondiale ,,
8 VALVERDE Alejandro Movistar Team ,,
9 BENOOT Tiesj Lotto Soudal ,,
10 VAN AVERMAET Greg CCC Team ,,
11 SAGAN Peter BORA – hansgrohe ,,
12 KEUKELEIRE Jens Lotto Soudal ,,
13 VAN GESTEL Dries Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise ,,
14 VAN AERT Wout Team Jumbo-Visma ,,
15 LANGEVELD Sebastian EF Education First ,,
16 JUNGELS Bob Deceuninck – Quick Step ,,
17 LAMPAERT Yves Deceuninck – Quick Step ,,
18 VAN BAARLE Dylan Team Sky 0:24
19 STUYVEN Jasper Trek – Segafredo 1:19
20 VANDENBERGH Stijn AG2R La Mondiale 1:58
21 TRENTIN Matteo Mitchelton-Scott ,,
22 SÜTTERLIN Jasha Movistar Team ,,
23 GAUDIN Damien Direct Energie 2:15
24 GARCÍA CORTINA Iván Bahrain Merida 2:18
25 VANMARCKE Sep EF Education First 2:20
26 PETIT Adrien Direct Energie ,,
27 ROWE Luke Team Sky ,,
28 DÉMARE Arnaud Groupama – FDJ ,,
29 DEGENKOLB John Trek – Segafredo ,,
30 COLBRELLI Sonny Bahrain Merida ,,
31 TEUNISSEN Mike Team Jumbo-Visma ,,
32 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Team Dimension Data ,,
33 HAUSSLER Heinrich Bahrain Merida ,,
34 WELLENS Tim Lotto Soudal ,,
35 DEBUSSCHERE Jens Team Katusha – Alpecin ,,
36 ŠTYBAR Zdeněk Deceuninck – Quick Step ,,
37 DE GENDT Aimé Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team ,,
38 BYSTRØM Sven Erik UAE-Team Emirates ,,
39 VLIEGEN Loïc Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team ,,
40 CALMEJANE Lilian Direct Energie ,,
41 MOHORIČ Matej Bahrain Merida ,,
42 MOSCON Gianni Team Sky ,,
43 ERVITI Imanol Movistar Team ,,
44 KÜNG Stefan Groupama – FDJ ,,
45 OLIVEIRA Nelson Movistar Team ,,
46 WEENING Pieter Roompot – Charles ,,
47 KOREN Kristijan Bahrain Merida ,,
48 KNEES Christian Team Sky 5:47
49 OSS Daniel BORA – hansgrohe 6:09
50 SCULLY Tom EF Education First ,,
51 DEVOLDER Stijn Corendon – Circus ,,
52 VERMOTE Julien Team Dimension Data 6:13
53 HALLER Marco Team Katusha – Alpecin 6:17
54 DILLIER Silvan AG2R La Mondiale ,,
55 JANSE VAN RENSBURG Reinardt Team Dimension Data ,,
56 VAN POPPEL Boy Roompot – Charles ,,
57 THEUNS Edward Trek – Segafredo ,,
58 PASQUALON Andrea Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team ,,
59 VAN DER HOORN Taco Team Jumbo-Visma ,,
60 ALLEGAERT Piet Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise ,,
61 VAN HOOYDONCK Nathan CCC Team ,,
62 EENKHOORN Pascal Team Jumbo-Visma ,,
63 SIEBERG Marcel Bahrain Merida ,,
64 LE GAC Olivier Groupama – FDJ ,,
65 BACKAERT Frederik Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team ,,
66 SCHÄR Michael CCC Team ,,
67 SPRENGERS Thomas Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise ,,
68 ROELANDTS Jürgen Movistar Team ,,
69 VERMEERSCH Gianni Corendon – Circus ,,
70 DE BACKER Bert Vital Concept – B&B Hotels ,,
71 WIŚNIOWSKI Łukasz CCC Team ,,
72 DE VREESE Laurens Astana Pro Team ,,
73 VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume CCC Team ,,
74 PÖSTLBERGER Lukas BORA – hansgrohe ,,
75 BAUER Jack Mitchelton-Scott ,,
76 STANNARD Ian Team Sky ,,
77 MEURISSE Xandro Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team ,,
78 GAVIRIA Fernando UAE-Team Emirates ,,
79 KUZNETSOV Vyacheslav Team Katusha – Alpecin 8:32
80 BRESCHEL Matti EF Education First 8:46
81 TURGIS Jimmy Vital Concept – B&B Hotels ,,
82 HOLLENSTEIN Reto Team Katusha – Alpecin ,,
83 DOULL Owain Team Sky ,,
84 BURGHARDT Marcus BORA – hansgrohe ,,
85 HOULE Hugo Astana Pro Team ,,
86 GODON Dorian AG2R La Mondiale ,,
87 TRATNIK Jan Bahrain Merida ,,
88 VAN GENECHTEN Jonas Vital Concept – B&B Hotels ,,
89 PICHOT Alexandre Direct Energie ,,
90 CASTRILLO Jaime Movistar Team ,,
91 VERGAERDE Otto Corendon – Circus ,,
92 LEMOINE Cyril Cofidis, Solutions Crédits ,,
93 LEYSEN Senne Roompot – Charles ,,
94 FOMINYKH Daniil Astana Pro Team ,,
95 MEZGEC Luka Mitchelton-Scott ,,
96 JUUL-JENSEN Christopher Mitchelton-Scott ,,
97 TURGIS Anthony Direct Energie ,,
98 GANNA Filippo Team Sky ,,
99 JANSEN Amund Grøndahl Team Jumbo-Visma ,,
100 DUCHESNE Antoine Groupama – FDJ ,,
101 DE KORT Koen Trek – Segafredo ,,
102 VALGREN Michael Team Dimension Data ,,
103 WYNANTS Maarten Team Jumbo-Visma ,,
104 MARCATO Marco UAE-Team Emirates ,,
105 KEISSE Iljo Deceuninck – Quick Step 10:14
106 TOUZE Damien Cofidis, Solutions Crédits ,,
107 CURVERS Roy Team Sunweb ,,
108 CORT Magnus Astana Pro Team ,,
109 DECLERCQ Benjamin Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise ,,
110 STEELS Stijn Roompot – Charles ,,
111 VAN LERBERGHE Bert Cofidis, Solutions Crédits ,,
112 PEDERSEN Casper Team Sunweb ,,
113 DECLERCQ Tim Deceuninck – Quick Step ,,
114 SINKELDAM Ramon Groupama – FDJ ,,
115 SAGAN Juraj BORA – hansgrohe ,,
116 WARLOP Jordi Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise ,,
117 EISEL Bernhard Team Dimension Data ,,
118 PLANCKAERT Edward Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise ,,
119 VAN HOECKE Gijs CCC Team ,,
120 KIRSCH Alex Trek – Segafredo ,,
121 LAENGEN Vegard Stake UAE-Team Emirates ,,
122 DENZ Nico AG2R La Mondiale ,,
123 MAS Lluís Movistar Team ,,
124 BODNAR Maciej BORA – hansgrohe ,,
125 BAK Lars Ytting Team Dimension Data 10:49

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.

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