Jens Debusschere wins Dwars door Vlaanderen

Jens Debusschere sprinted to the victory at Dwars door Vlaanderen this afternoon. It was an exciting finale with Greg Van Avermaet who was caught with only 250 metres left to go. Debusschere then beat the Frenchman Bryan Coquard.

Today’s early break consisted of six riders. Immediately Lotto Soudal started controlling the gap. Mike Teunissen and Jonas Rickaert jumped away from the peloton with eighty kilometres to go. Soon Luke Durbridged joined them. On the Eikenberg there were several other movements in the peloton. Then Jelle Wallays, last year’s winner, attacked. Seven riders accompanied him.

The group with Wallays closed the gap on Durbridge, Rickaert and Teunissen. Wallays punctured on the Paterberg and the Lotto Soudal rider lost contact with the group. On the Tiegemberg, in the last twenty kilometres, his teammate Tiesj Benoot raised the pace. With five others he could bridge to Kevin Van Melsen, the last member of the early breakaway at the head of the race. With ten kilometres to go they were caught up by a group with Debusschere, Ligthart and Wallays. Just before Nokereberg, Van Avermaet attacked. In the peloton the Lotto Soudal riders did all they could to let Jens Debusschere sprint for the victory. Also Trek-Segafredo still aimed for a sprint. With 250 metres to go it was over for Van Avermaet. In the sprint Debusschere was a tad faster than Bryan Coquard. Edward Theuns got third.

Jens Debusschere: “Of course I am happy with this victory. It was a race I had been looking forward to. Because of what happened yesterday in Brussels it wasn’t sure if the race would take place. It was strange yesterday and this morning: should we give in and cancel the race or do we race with respect for the victims and with attention for the safety? The atmosphere at the start in Roeselare was very serene.”

“It was the plan that Tiesj Benoot and Jelle Wallays would ride an aggressive race. I was the card to play if the race would end with a sprint. And it was a sprint, although the attempt of Greg Van Avermaet was really strong. For a long time we didn’t think he would get caught but Trek kept chasing him until the last straight line. In the last turn I was too far behind, I wasn’t part of the first ten riders. In the last straight line I could move up and I aimed for a podium place; at the end I won.”

“Everyone in the team did a good job today. In the finale we were with four in the first group: Jelle Wallays, Pim Ligthart, Tiesj Benoot and I. We had a strong team today with also Lars Bak, Sean De Bie, Jasper De Buyst and Marcel Sieberg who did their part of the work. After Strade Bianche I was afraid that I could forget about my ambitions for the Spring Classics because of the rib injury I incurred. But I could finish Tirreno and helped out Jürgen Roelandts at Milan-Sanremo. And today I win. This is yet again a next step in my career. It’s even more nice that I win in my home region.”

Dwars door Vlaanderen 2016 results:

1 Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal)

4:48:27

2 Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie)

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3 Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)

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4 Filippo Pozzato (Southeast – Venezuela)

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5 Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEDGE)

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6 Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo)

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7 Oscar Gatto (Tinkoff)

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8 Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon 18)

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9 Mike Teunissen (LottoNl-Jumbo)

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10 Fernando Gaviria (Etixx – QuickStep)

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