Durbridge strong for 12th at Tour of FlandersSun 2 Apr 2017
Recent De Panne stage winner Luke Durbridge has continued to show his growth as a classics rider, finishing in a strong 12th place at the Tour of Flanders.
The result betters the 25-year-old’s previous best of 43rd at the monument, one of the toughest one-day races in the world.
After missing a key move on the Muur, ORICA-SCOTT joined BMC Racing Team and Bora-Hansgrohe in the chase to put their main players back in the race.
In the end, an attack with 55km to go by Philippe Gilbert (QuickStep Floors) went unmatched as he took the solo victory. Durbridge finished amongst the third group, in the sprint for fifth.
“Luke and the boys did a good job,” sport director Laurenzo Lapage said. “OK we missed that first main move, but the guys responded to close the gap and get us back in there.”
“In the end, it was the end of the race for us in that moment, but you can’t take anything away from Gilbert, that was an incredible ride and he deserved that result.
“And for Luke, it’s also a good result. This is a hard race and he is continuing to show his strength this season. He has had some great results and this is another step up from his previous seasons.”
How it happened:
An early breakaway of six swelled to eight riders and gained an early advantage of over ten minutes from an uninterested peloton.
The breakaway’s advantage decreased, but the race was without too much action until the Muur with just under 100km remaining.
At this point, a group of dangerous chasers broke free, including Gilbert, caught the breakaway to make a lead group of 21 riders.
ORICA-SCOTT, BMC Racing and Bora-Hansgrohe all missed the split and put riders on the front to position their leaders back in the race.
As the gap closed, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) were able to form a smaller chase group, with Durbridge missing out.
Meanwhile out in front, Gilbert attacked and in an impressive 55km solo effort, went on to win.
A crash upset Sagan’s chances and the rhythm of the chase, but Van Avermaet recovered to finished second ahead of Niki Tepstra (Quickstep Floors).
Durbridge was in the third group that sprinted for fifth place. His eventual 12th place was 52seconds down on Gilbert.
Tour of Flanders - Results:
1. Philippe Gilbert (QST) 6:23:45
2. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) +0:28
3. Niki Terpstra (QST) +0:28
12. Luke Durbridge (ORS) +0:52
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com