What the stars said after the cobblestone crash – VeloNews.com

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The Tour of Flanders was as impressive as ever this weekend.

From the exhaustion of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step power play to the final slug festival between Kasper Asgreen, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, the cobblestone monument lived up to pre-race expectations.

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Asgreen edged out the favorites and stole the show Sunday, but what were the other stars saying after the cobblestone crash? This is what:

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step): 42nd

Julian Alaphilippe was active in the final hours of the race, attacking during the second ascent of the Oude Kwaremont and working with Asgreen to put pressure on Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert. The Frenchman struggled to reach the final selection only to be shot out when Asgreen attacked to take out van Aert and van der Poel 27km to go.

After entering the race as one of the top favorites, Alaphilippe finished 42nd, 2:35. His next scheduled race is Liège-Bastogne-Liège later this month.

“We shot very well and we assumed our responsibility. We were well represented in the final. Kasper was one of our strong guys. He rode perfectly. It was a beautiful victory, he deserves it. He’s a great guy, a machine. It is not the last race he has won ”.

“I was happy to accompany him a bit in the final. I tried something at the Kruisberg but saw that it would be difficult for me. Sadly, I broke down in the final kilometers. My legs exploded. I had cramps everywhere.

“I tried to support Kasper as best as possible and tried to stay with the group as long as possible. I also have the races in the Ardennes still close. Now I need to recover. It has been a long day.”

Patrick Lefevere (director of Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

Veteran coach Patrick Lefevere had watched his team achieve its fourth classic of the year and Kasper Asgreen’s second in just nine days. Lefevere is currently defining the future of his team as he works to renew endorsement deals and extend deals with his riders, many of whom are out of contract at the end of 2021.

“On the one hand I am very satisfied, on the other hand I was finalizing Kasper’s new contract this week. I think it will cost me a little more now. Well that’s part of the game, of course. “

“No wonder Kasper won today. I was arriving. Two years ago Kasper was already 2nd in the Tour of Flanders, last year he also participated [finishing 13th] and this year he won the E3 Saxo Bank Classic in a magnificent way.

“This week we talked about his sprint with him. He was a little offended, he said, ‘You think I can’t run, but I can.’ I’ve already won races in the sprint. ‘ He is convinced of its qualities and makes them come true. He’s a cycling maniac. He’s a very calm guy, he knows what he’s doing very well and he makes a lot of sacrifices for his sport; He has not returned home from Milan-San Remo ”.

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): 15 °

Peter Sagan was offside for much of the day as he battled for a second against all odds victory in Flanders. Having had to reschedule his initial season after a coronavirus outbreak and a long period in quarantine, the Slovakian was beginning to recover in the weeks leading up to De Ronde.

Sagan missed the decisive moves when Mathieu van der Poel and Deceuninck-Quick-Step made a series of attacks over the final 60km, but broke through into the second chase group to finish 15th, 2:15 behind. Now it will cool its planes before the Giro d’Italia next month.

“The Tour of Flanders, as expected, was very tough and fast. We had a strong team and I would like to thank them for their work but unfortunately when the decisive attacks came, my current form was not enough to respond and follow them. I need to keep working to reach the level I was before I was infected with COVID. “

Greg Van Avermaet (Ag2r-Citroën): third

Greg Van Avermaet rode a canny run, keeping his golden helmet down and saving his bullets for when he needed them most. Having driven De Ronde 14 times on his long quest for victory at his home monument, the Ag2r-Citroën captain used his experience to make his move at the key moment. “Golden Greg” came out of the chase group with three kilometers to go and fended off a challenge from Jasper Stuyven to claim third place.

Van Avermaet’s podium was his best result in Flanders since he finished second in 2017. It also marks the high point of a consistent, albeit off-beat, season that has seen him in the top 20 of all the classics he started except Omloop Het Nieuwsblad at the end of February.

“I am very happy to be back on the podium, after a few years, in a race that I love so much. I will try again, but it is not easier.

“I have been on the podium several times with a sad face because I thought it was possible to do more. But this time I was all smiles behind my mask. I made the most of it and more than third place was not possible. I am satisfied.

“I was good, but I didn’t have the legs to go with Mathieu, Wout or Alaphilippe, so I had to do it at my own pace. There were certainly more than three riders stronger than me. With my experience and knowledge of the course, I knew that I had to try to stay in the group. If some of the others shot up, my chances would increase and maybe a podium would be possible. “

Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo): 4th

Like Greg Van Avermaet, Jasper Stuyven couldn’t match key accelerations on the last few icebergs on Sunday. Nonetheless, the Trek-Segafredo captain struggled for the last hour to land in the pursuit group after Kasper Asgreen and Mathieu van der Poel drifted away.

Stuyven was the first to react to Van Avermaet’s move in the race for the podium, but he vanished when his veteran rival ran the distance on the final round to the line at Oudenaarde. Having won Milano-Sanremo in March, Stuyven has enjoyed one of his best classics campaigns to date, and will now take a break before returning to focus on the Ardennes.

“I didn’t react immediately [to Van Avermaet] And then I thought, okay, let’s go. I mean, I felt like it was going to be very difficult, and also, when he replaced me, I could feel that there was a difference in power. In the sprint I tried, but it was pretty clear that I no longer had legs for third place.

“I think it’s good to get fourth place at the end. In Flanders, it’s my best result, and it’s not so bad to finish first and fourth in the first two monuments of the season. I have to be happy; of course, I wish I had finished it with a podium, but that’s the way it is. “

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