A tangle with the women’s race brought the Dwars door Vlaanderen race to a stop in Belgium, but the final third proved decisive for the five-man breakaway that ended with a victory for 24-year-old Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel.
The 182.6 km route crossed with that of the shorter (106 km) women’s Dwars door Vlaanderen race that started earlier. But because of crashes in the women’s race, the men’s race actually had to be stopped with 75 km remaining as ambulances rushed by.
This was especially problematic for the men because the race had reached the first major climb of the day. Then the race had to be stopped again to restore the eight-rider breakaway group that had a lead of 2:15 to be reinstated in position.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Australia’s Heinrich Haussler, who finished 10th. “Things were about to kick off, and then I rolled up and saw everyone stopped. It came at a bad moment in the race.”
Once the race continued, a group of five broke away with about 60 km remaining and were never headed to the finish. Van der Poel, France’s Anthony Turgis, Bob Jungels (LUX), Lukas Postlberger (AUT) and Belgian Tiesj Benoot. Van der Poel said later that he was happy to counter every move against him, and “fortunately I looked back just in time when Turgis attacked” for the final time.
Of the stoppage, van der Poel said, “It was a bit of a difficult moment, because just before the Kluisberg, it was quite hectic and we wasted a bit of energy to be at the front, and then they stopped the race. That was quite a hard moment to get the race started again, but for the rest, it didn’t really affect the race.”
The win was van der Poel’s first in a World Tour race, after finishing fourth in Gent-Wevelgem last weekend. Turgis, also 24, scored his first career World Tour medal. Summaries:
UCI World Tour/Dwars door Vlaanderen
Roeselare to Waregem (BEL) ~ 3 April 2019
(Full results here)
Final Standings (182.6 km): 1. Mathieu van der Poel (NED), 4:05:54; 2. Anthony Turgis (FRA), 4:05:54; 3. Bob Jungels (LUX), 4:05:54; 4. Lukas Postlberger (AUT), 4:05:54; 5. Tiesj Benoot (BEL), 4:05:54; 6. Luke Rowe (GBR), 4:06:12; 7. Danny van Poppel (NED), 4:06:13; 8. Yves Lampaert (BEL), 4:06:13; 9. Christophe Laporte (FRA), 4:06:13; 10. Heinrich Haussler (AUS), 4:06:13.