Nikki Terpstra solos to emphatic win at the Tour of Flanders
Nikki Terpstra from Quick-Step Floors attacked on the Kruisberg, caught and past the breakaway leaders to solo to the line with Mads Pederson second
For the whole day, dark clouds threatened to rain on the Tour of Flanders. Starting the day on rain-soaked roads, the race saw frequent crashes and mechanicals that would put an end to even the strongest riders’ races.
For the 102nd edition of the Tour of Flanders, riders are treated to one of the hardest races of the UCI WorldTour. The 265km parcours makes for a long day in the saddle, even without any climbs or cobblestones to take into account, but the 2018 edition of the race sees no fewer than 13 cobblestone sections and 18 brutal climbs. The closing third of the race also brings with it some of the hardest climbs of the race - including the Koppenberg and the legendary Oude Kwaremont, ridden three times, and Paterberg, ridden twice.
The final ascent of the Paterberg comes just over 10km from the finish line. This would undoubtedly be the climbs to watch the decisive move unfold over, the steep and narrow cobblestone climb having been the deciding climb in so many previous editions of the race. If the parcours wasn’t enough, however, the Belgian weather always manages to shake the day up - potentially ruining even the strongest rider's chances, with crashes and punctures likely as the roads become soaked.
Dutchman Niki Terpstra from Quick-Step Floors’ won the 102nd edition of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen with a solo breakway on Easter Sunday. He attacked his main rivals over the top of the Kruisberg
Terpstra counter attacked Nibali who rode away, with no emphasis from the main favorites to chase, marking each other. Terpstra bridged across to a trio of leading riders from the early breakaway on the Kwaremont including Van Baarle, Max Pederson and Langeveld.
Terpstra pushed on over the Kwaremont, with only Max Pederson being able to follow.
Behind, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) attacked but was brought back by riders including Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and last year’s winner Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors).
Terpstra was able to maintain his gap, behind Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) survived from the early breakaway, just ahead of the chasing group. Phillipe Gilbert sprinted for third place, rounding out another succesful day for Quick-Step Floors.
"It's a dream come true," Terpstra said. "Winning Paris-Roubaix and now the Tour of Flanders... Those two races were always a big dream for me when I was young kid. I was already crazy about those two races. Now they're both on my palmares. I can't describe how happy I am."
VIDEO: 2018 Tour of Flanders Highlights
2018 Tour of Flanders Top 10
1 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
2 Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
4 Michael Valgren (Den) Astana Pro Team
5 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
6 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
7 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
8 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors