4 Jours de Dunkerque / Grand Prix des Hauts de France
Stage 5: Roubaix - Cassel
France Saturday 20 May 2023 187.7 km
Asgreen keeps podium spot in Dunkerque
Saturday brought the queen stage of the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque, held under a lovely sun that saw the riders start from the legendary Roubaix velodrome before taking eight times on the Cassel circuit, with its famous cobbled climb (1.9km, 5.3%) which was to play a decisive role in the outcome.
Having Kasper Asgreen in the leader’s jersey, which he took after his solid outing in the time trial, Soudal Quick-Step controlled the stage behind a seven-man breakaway that enjoyed its time at the front before being brought back in the last 20 kilometers. As expected, the main moves came on the last ascent of the day, which our Dane started well positioned, thanks to his teammates’ stellar job.
On the steepest part of it, two men took off and forged a gap over the peloton, where Kasper was trying his best to limit the losses. In the end, Per Strand Hagenes (Jumbo-Visma) outsprinted Romain Gregoire (Groupama-FDJ), who moved to the top of the standings, while our rider was bit by an untimely and frustrating mechanical which ruined his chances and left him without the leader’s jersey.
“We had hoped for more today, but luck wasn’t on our side, despite the boys doing a very good job and controlling the race quite well. We came a bit short for a couple of seconds, but the morale is still good in the team and we’ll see now what can happen on Sunday, which could be another tricky day in the saddle because of the winds”, said Soudal Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels before the last stage, which Asgreen will start in second place.
Photo credit: ©Luc Claessen / Getty Images