Wednesday schedules another cobbled Classic, Dwars door Vlaanderen, which takes place over a 183.7km course between Roeselare and Waregem. On the menu, eight pavé sectors and eleven climbs, among which Hotond, Kanarieberg, Knokteberg, or the famous Nokereberg – the penultimate difficulty of the day, coming with just twenty kilometers to go.
Dwars door Vlaanderen: Ballerini seventh in Waregem
Davide Ballerini racked up his second top 10 of the season in a cobbled classic. One month after finishing sixth at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, he was again in the thick of the action, this time at the 77th edition of Dwars door Vlaanderen, which took in a dozen or so climbs, most of which were stacked in the final 100 kilometers.
It wasn’t an easy day for Soudal Quick-Step, as Tim Merlier was forced to retire with 70 kilometers to go after crashing on Berg Ten Houte. Fortunately, the Belgian Champion ended up with only some small abrasions after this incident, but as a measure of precaution he stopped the race. Julian Alaphilippe and Davide Ballerini, our two riders who remained part of the peloton after the selection that took place on the climb, tried several times to break clear, only for the others to respond each time.
Some 50 kilometers from the finish, eight men rode away, and despite taking their gap to one minute, the bunch kept believing in their chances. Alaphilippe and Ballerini helped with the chase, and the margin between the two groups began tumbling down after the last climb. On the line, only a couple of seconds separated the chasers from winner Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), and it was from that small peloton that Davide sprinted to seventh place.
“It was a very tough race, because the action began with more than 90 kilometers to go. We tried our best, as always, but it was hard out there. I was in the front with Julian, we combined well for a strong effort, but it was difficult for me to recover after the hills. In the sprint I gave everything, but I knew that I wasn’t on my best day. On the other hand, this top 10 is encouraging for Sunday, when we’ll try to get a good result”, said the 28-year-old Italian.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images