Niki Terpstra (Quick Step-Floors) won the 102nd edition of the Tour of Flanders Sunday which covered 263 kilometres between Antwerp and Oudenaarde. The 33-year-old Dutchman made his attack at Kruisberg, 30 kilometers from the finishing line to finish alone in 6:21:25, in front of Denmark’s Mats Pedersen who was 11 seconds behind him. Philippe Gilbert finished third (for the 4th time in his career).
An 11-man group led the Tour for large parts of the race, before they were caught with approximately 80 kilometres to go. The peloton then began breaking into different groups for the remainder of the race.
Dylan van Baarle, Sebastian Langeveld and Pedersen took a 30-second lead at the Kruisberg climb with 28 kilometres to go. Attacks in the chasing bunch ensued after the cobbles ended, which saw Vincenzo Nibali solo ahead. Terpstra joined Nibali shortly after, before the Dutchman took over and broke away in an attempt to catch the leading trio.
On the Oude Kwaremont, the three riders in front extended their lead to 40 seconds, before Terpstra powered past them over the top of the climb. Terpstra managed to build a 40-second lead with 15 kilometres left, with Pedersen chasing in second.
The Slovak, Peter Sagan, just after the Paterberg climb, gave a lone chase in third. With about 8 kilometres left Pedersen was 35 seconds behind Terpstra, with Sagan a further 10 seconds back. Terpstra held his lead to solo to victory. Pedersen held on for second place, while Terpstra’s teammate Philippe Gilbert completed the podium in a sprint finish.
It was a “dream come true” for Terpstra, he said. “Winning Paris-Roubaix and now the Tour of Flanders – two races that were always a big dream for me,” Terpstra said after the race.