Mohoric successfully defends the leaders jersey on the Wall of Geraardsbergen
Michael Matthews wins the final brutal stage ahead of Greg Van Avermaet and Zdenek Stybar
Matthews out-gunned Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing), powering up the Muur van Geraardsbergen to take a clear win over the Belgian with Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) finished in third once again.
The final stage was with more than 210km and 18 climbs the queen stage in this year’s edition of the Binck Bank Tour. The race took the peloton from Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure over 212.7 demanding kilometres to Geraardsbergen. The finale consisted four cobbled climbs like the Muur van Geraardsbergen, which had the peloton to tackle three times on a 25.6km circuit.
After an earlier group was caught by the peloton, a group of seven riders escaped after 64km of racing and built up a maximum gap of four minutes. But as expected the breakaway fell apart on the final laps in Geraardsbergen. The Austrian rider was in a good position and as the race headed into the final laps. The last lap saw several attacks but it was M. Matthews (Team Sunweb) who took the win ahead of G. van Avermaet.
Matthews said: "This win is incredible. We came here with a GC goal and it was a real big team effort to secure 2nd. Today was a big goal for me personally, we wanted to finish off the race on a high note. Søren did a great job in the final and sacrificed his chances so we could take the win. We tried everything to crack the leader but he played it really smart so we have to be happy with 2nd. I'm so happy with this win, it's the big victory I've been looking for."
Mohoric was distanced on the final climb, losing 14 seconds to Matthews, enough to hold onto his leader’s jersey and claim the overall.
With their help and an incredible tenacity, BAHRAIN MERIDA team leader Matej Mohoric succeeded in defending the overall leadership. The rivals tried everything, but he was the Slovenian rider responded to all the attacks and in the end he conceded 14 seconds to Matthews, who took the win on the final stage 7. But neither the bonus seconds were enough for him to beat Matej, who took the well deserved overall win.
“I’m super happy. It is the biggest victory in my career so far. It was an incredible tough stage today. We controlled the race from the start and all the guys helped me until they could. I managed to come back, even if there were several attacks. At the finish it was very close, but fortunately it was enough” says Matej, who added “I’m also happy because it was the first time for me on the cobbles and it has been a good test for the next season”.
VIDEO: 2018 BinckBank Tour Stage 7 Final Kilometre
2018 BinckBank Tour Stage 7 Top 10
1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 04:38:36
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:00:01
3 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:03
4 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
5 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors
6 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7 Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
9 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky
10 Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:07
2018 BinckBank Tour Final General Classification
1 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 25:13:01
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 00:00:05
3 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 00:00:20
4 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:25
5 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky 00:00:34
6 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:00:37
7 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb 00:00:39
8 Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:43
9 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
10 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:50