Stannard runs fourth at La Fleche ArdennaiseSun 6 May 2018
Tour de Bretagne stage winner Robert Stannard maintained his excellent run of results in 2018 for Mitchelton-BikeExchange with a strong finish at the 53rdedition of La Fleche Ardennaise in Belgium today, taking fourth in an uphill sprint after a long day in the chase.
A tough race covering 179.7kilometres and including nine climbs, some of which appear in ‘La Doyenne’ Liege-Bastogne-Liege, got off to a fast start with eight riders forming the breakaway and gaining over three minutes by the 60kilometre mark.
The incessant climbs started to take their toll past the halfway mark as the race split over the Cote de la Vecquee with the breakaway shattering, leaving two riders ahead of a chasing group of around 50riders including Stannard, Sam Jenner and Callum Scotson all in there.
Scoston dropped off inside the final 40kilomtres suffering from leg cramps, but Jenner and Stannard chased on behind the leading duo who managed to hold their one-minute gap over the closing climbs and into the final ten kilometres.
The gap halved, but the pair would not be caught with Cees Bol (SEG-Racing-Academy) taking the win and Stannard in fourth place after sprinting hard out of the chasing group onto the uphill finish.
Robert Stannard – 4th:
“I'm a bit disappointed with fourth today, as it was a finish that suited me perfectly, and I showed that because I won the kick from the bunch but did not manage to catch the riders already up the road."
“It was a tough race and with a compact team we didn’t have the man power to chase the break down ourselves and had to rely on other teams with more riders, but it never happened, and the leaders held on.”
La Fleche Ardennaise results:
1. Cees Bol (SEG-Racing-Academy)
2. Jimmy Janssesns (Cibel-Cibon)
3. Sjoerd Bax (Delta-Cycling-Rotterdam)
4. Robert Stannnard (Mitchelton-BikeExchange)