Kittels wins a record fifth time in Scheldeprijs
The German sprinter beat Elia Viviani and Nacer Bouhanni to the line in Belgian city of Schoten
The day started with a fanfare welcoming of Tom Boonen (Quick-Step Floors) who had his last race in Belgium.
After the neutralized start, the rider's grandfather waved the flag to signal the official start and the peloton cruised through Boonen's home town, Mol.
A breakway of 8 riders consisting of Marco Mathis (Katusha-Alpecin), Stijn Steels (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Pim Ligthart (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Christophe Premont (Veranda's Willems-Crelan), Julien Stassen (WB-Veranclassic Aquality Protect) and Eugert Zhupa (Wilier-Selle Italia), were in front for most of the race and had a maximium lead of 3 minutes.
But with 20 kilometers most of the breakaway had been swallowed up and the Peloton prepared for a final Sprint.
With 7 kms to go, a crashed involved a lot of riders from Dimension Data, Quick-Step, Lotto-Soudal and Lotto NL-Jumbo. Peter Sagan was lucky to escape and pulled over having done a huge amount of work for his Bora-hansgrohe teammates.
The pace reamined very high in the final kilometers with a Bora-hansgrohe leading the way.
Tom Boonen worked really hard to put Kittel in the right place and the German sprinter crossed the line with a good advantage over Elia Viviani (Team Sky) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) to take his fifth victory in the Belgian race.
“It was some pressure to win, being the defending champion, and I’m happy I could finish off the great job of my teammates. It was an important day also because Tom rode for the last time in Belgium. He was incredible during the race, sacrificing himself for the team and for a good result, despite having his big goal of the season on Sunday. He showed again what a great rider he is and I’m happy to end my relationship with him in such a way. I hope he will have reasons to smile after Paris-Roubaix, where I wish him all the best in his attempt to bring a fifth cobble-shaped trophy home”, said Marcel Kittel.
“The mood in the team is fantastic, we are winning everywhere and that gives us all a huge motivation to keep going like that. You could see that also today, when everyone was involved in the chase, from Tim to Zdenek and from Saba, who unfortunately crashed, to Tom. I’m grateful to all of them! Can’t say how happy I am to win again this race, which I really like a lot”, continued Marcel, who also talked of his plans for the upcoming weeks: “I’ll now take a break before returning to action at the Tour of California. It will be only my second time there, but I’m looking forward to this race, because it’s very well-organised and the atmosphere is great.”
A two-time winner of Scheldeprijs, Tom Boonen waved goodbye on Wednesday afternoon to his countrymen, who came in huge numbers to cheer for him, in both Mol and Schoten: “Today was unbelievable! I was touched by the warm welcome I received and by the huge support I got from the fans. I would never have dreamed of such incredible moments. I want to thank everyone for turning out and to the organizers for moving the start to Mol, making it a day I will never forget!”
Scheldeprijs 2017 Top 10 Results
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors
2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky
3 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
4 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5 Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Rudy Barbier (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
7 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
8 Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ
9 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Sunweb
10 Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Cofidis