Midweek Belgian semi-classics are often a chance for up-and-comers to shine, and Timothy Dupont did just that, winning a bunch sprint up a long, slightly uphill, cobbled drag to the line at Nokere Koerse Wednesday. He and his Verandas Willems Continental team were up against a strong field that included seven WorldTour teams. Team Joker’s Kristoffer Halvorsen finished second, and LottoNL – Jumbo’s Dylan Groenewegen was third.
The run-in to the finish in Nokere was hazardous — numerous riders crashed, including three Lotto – Soudal riders: Frederik Frison, Gert Dockx, and Marcel Sieberg. Frison was worst off, suffering what appeared to be a concussion, based on team reports.
After the final breakaway riders were caught, Cofidis moved up with two kilometers to go. Then, Bora – Argon 18 took over at the front, but its riders were swamped by Sky in the final few hundred meters. The peloton fanned out across the cobbled road for the sprint, and Dupont emerged at the last moment, winning by a bike throw. It was his second victory of the season, having won stage 2 at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen.