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Ronde van Vlaanderen

Alexander Kristoff: “I absolutely gave everything to achieve this top ten”

Coming SoonThis Sunday, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux participated in the second Monument of the season, the Tour of Flanders (1.UWT, 03/04). The 106th edition connected Antwerp with Oudenaarde in 272 kilometer containing eighteen climbs and seven cobble sections.

And thanks to the indestructible Taco van der Hoorn, the Belgian World Team was once more represented in the front of the race. The Dutchman saw the opportunity and joined the early breakaway of nine riders 10 kilometer after the start on the Main Square in Antwerp.

Taco van der Hoorn approached the first of three passages on the Old Kwaremont, the first climb of the day in the Flemish Ardennes, with an advantage of 4 minutes on the peloton. This gap remained stable until the final 100 kilometer, when several counterattackers made a move before the Valkenberg.

At the same moment, Alexander Kristoff had a flat tire but thanks to the help of Tom Devriendt the Norwegian rider was quickly back in the peloton. Just before the Berg ten Houte, Aimé De Gendt and Boy van Poppel were involved in a crash and luckily continued the race without harm.

Despite multiple accelerations from the favorites, van der Hoorn started the second passage of the Old Kwaremont in the lead and resisted until the top which was situated 50 kilometer before the finish. Alexander Kristoff was together with De Gendt and Andrea Pasqualon present among the best riders at the foot of the Koppenberg.

In the final race hour, Kristoff and De Gendt battled in the first chasing group behind five riders. After more than six hours of effort, the former winner finished tenth. It is the eighth time in eleven participations that the Norwegian rider finished among the best ten riders in the Ronde.

« I didn’t count how many times I died today, but I remember that the last time was with 200 meter to go! I absolutely gave everything to achieve this top ten finish. It was probably the best possible result today, because I just wasn’t strong enough on the Koppenberg to follow the best riders in the race. Before, I lost some energy because of a flat tire, but thanks to the help of Tom Devriendt I came back quickly and started Berg ten Houte in the front. I’m pretty satisfied with my performance and happy that we managed to reach our goal for today. »

« I gave a lot to join the early breakaway and it was all worth it. Covering the Kwaremont for the second time first was a fantastic moment, the rows of spectators really gave me goosebumps. I was hoping to survive a little longer, because the next climb, the Paterberg, was followed by a flat section. I reached the top of the Paterberg alongside Aimé De Gendt and I could help him to get back to the group in front of us with Alexander Kristoff. My role was to anticipate and help our leaders in the final, so we can say that I accomplished my mission! »


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