BinckBank Tour: Nervous finish in Ardooie
Yves Lampaert rolled over the line with the pack and continues to sit in the top-10 overall.
Stage 3 was the first foray into Belgium of this year's BinckBank Tour, for a 185km stage from Blankenberge to Ardooie, which was returning as a finish in the race for the ninth year. The course being a pan flat one, it didn't pose any threat to the riders, who let five riders book a place in the escape and establish a three-minute lead which yo-yoed in the final hour of racing, until the quintet – who swept up the bonus second in the Golden Kilometer – were brought back with six kilometers remaining.
Quick-Step Floors was among the teams to take the reins as the technical finish was approaching, but a crash occurred on a tricky corner just before the closing kilometer disrupted the bunch sprint, splitting the peloton into several groups and leaving only a handful of riders at the front. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) beat Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and Rudy Barbier (AG2R) to the victory, while Stefan Kung (BMC) retained the leader's jersey.
Maximiliano Richeze was part of that group and came home just outside the top 10 on this penultimate stage for sprinters. Yves Lampaert, who rode a solid individual time trial in Voorburg, safely negotiated the chaotic finale and concluded this stressful day in the main group; with four stages remaining, the 26-year-old is Quick-Step Floors' best-placed rider in the general classification, in seventh, just 14 seconds behind the green jersey wearer.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele