Hepburn gets amongst the breakaway at Dwars door Vlaanderen

Wed 3 Apr 2019

Australian Michael Hepburn got himself in the break of the day as Mitchelton-SCOTT looked to go on the attack at Dwars door Vlaanderen.

Hepburn was eventually reeled back in in the latter half of the race with Kiwi Jack Bauer the team’s highest finisher in 25th as the focus now turns to the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.

Fast Pace

It was a fast start to the day as the peloton headed out of Roeselare with nobody being able to form a breakaway within the opening hour of the race.

Eventually eight broke clear and Hepburn was amongst them, with the Australian taking the opportunity to move up the road as the bunch knocked off the pace behind.

There was a bizarre situation when the race was halted with 76km left to race. After a brief pause in proceedings the race resumed but was soon stopped again, before the eight escapees were eventually allowed to go up the road again.

Counter Attacks

After the restart the tempo in the peloton dropped and a small group of riders took their opportunity to jump out of the bunch. The five riders eventually bridged across to Hepburn and the remains of the break, but the peloton were closing in behind.

With the attackers in sight, a counter move came from behind, resulting in a mixture of riders from the original attack and those that had just jumped clear of the peloton, with the members of the original breakaway being moped up.

The new group of five worked well together to open up their advantage out to around a minute and despite a chase from behind, the win was contested by the leading quintet as Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus) sprinted to victory.

Michael Hepburn:
“It’s normally a pretty aggressive start here in Waregem and I knew from previous years that it’s taken a fair while for the break to form. A couple of us were following moves in the first hour and I eventually found myself with the group of eight after about 50 kilomteres.”

“The crucial part of today’s race was from kilometre 100 to kilometre 140, so it was nice to hit that section with a little head start. But unfortunately I lost contact with the front on the last ascent of the Trieu.”

“But everyone’s had a good hit out today and with Matteo (Trentin) coming back in for Sunday I think we’re ready.”

Laurenzo Lapage (Sports Director):
"The idea today was to get someone in the break and then have someone bridge across over the hilly zone, but they neutralised the race for a while and I think because of that the guys missed the chance."

"We were in good position before they stopped the race and then that mixed everything up for us."

"We did a good job as a team today, we raced well, we had Jack and Chris (Juul-Jensen) in the first group and we had no crashes which is good. Eveyone is feeling good so i think we have a good team to support Matteo on Sunday."

Dwars door Vlaanderen Results:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon – Circus) 4:05:45
2. Anthony Turgis (Direct Energie) ST
3. Jack Bauer (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:19

Photo Courtesy of Kristof Ramon.