Patrick Lefevere’s Etixx-QuickStep team missed out on the podium in the first of the cobbled classics on Wednesday, Dwars door Vlaanderen. In a reaction after the race the talkative Belgian manager raged over the behaviour of the motorbikes late in the race. He also evaluated his own riders’ performance in Waregem, Belgium.
The team was ever-present on Wednesday but that did not translate to a result. The breakaway move with their rider Nikolas Maes was caught by a small peloton at approximately 10 kilometres from the finish. Niki Terpstra worked hard to bring back a strong solo effort from Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). The latter was caught in the final kilometre and a bunch sprint would decide the winner.
The Belgian team’s dedicated sprinter Fernando Gaviria was present to bounce back from his late crash in Milan-San Remo but he started his sprint way too early into the headwind and only managed a 10th place, far behind winner Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal).
“Debusschere comes out of the slipstream. It’s lack of experience from Gaviria and he also rode 300 kilometres last weekend. Next year this won’t happen again,” Lefevere said.
Gaviria showed a lot of promise in his recent one-day races. He was still present in the final kilometres of Milan-San Remo, and also very strong on the Taaienberg, a key climb in many Flemish one-day races.
Lefevere was convinced he had gold in his hands.
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