Jens Keukeleire was the top finisher for ORICA-GreenEDGE in a blistering fast Binche-Tournai-Binche. The Belgian sprinted to tenth from a front group of around 40 riders that formed on the final lap of the finish circuit. Below, he tells you about his day.
It was raining at the start of the race. The roads were all wet, and the rain continued to come down during the first hour of racing. Rain always makes things more interesting. Today was no different. In addition to rain, we also had wind. It wasn’t extremely windy but windy enough to make things dangerous in the bunch.
After the first hour of racing, the peloton split. We rode away with maybe 35 or 40 riders. There were four ORICA-GreenEDGE guys in the group. That move stayed out front for a long time – I think over 100K – before the second group came back to the first group. Another 40 or so riders joined us, so we were 80. We didn’t see the rest of the field after the initial split.
Once the two groups came back together, there was one attack after another. That’s what kept the average speed so high. I think our average speed was right around 48 kilometers per hour. With the wind and the rain, that’s really fast.
The race ended with four laps of a local circuit. Each lap included one long climb – it wasn’t too steep but it was very long. From the moment we hit the circuits, a group of 15-20 riders left. They stayed in front until the last lap.
Aidis [Kruopis] and I jumped up to the front group on the last lap. Other guys come back, too. In the end, there were 30-40 riders to contest the sprint. I had a good position, but it’s a really tricky finish with some cobblestones and a tight corner. The race winner, Adam Blythe (BMC), had a couple seconds advantage on the rest of us out of the final corner, so we were sprinting for second. I ended up in tenth.
I did a good job staying on the front. It’s hard on a finish like this to maintain a good position. The team also did a good job. We always had somebody in the front group. I think we can feel happy about how we raced today.