Close but no cigar for Quick-Step Floors
Our team was in the mix at both Binche-Chimay-Binche and Münsterland Giro, the two races which took place Tuesday afternoon.
Binche-Chimay-Binche lived up to the expectations and fully delivered in terms of spectacle and excitement, with a large group breaking clear minutes after the start and opening a gap, which despite not exceeding two minutes, proved insurmountable for the peloton. Quick-Step Floors was well-represented at the front, with the likes of Rémi Cavagna, Matteo Trentin, Petr Vakoč and Fernando Gaviria, the latter abandoning some 40-odd kilometers from the finish.
With around 20 kilometers remaining, several riders slipped away from the reduced bunch in an attempt to bridge across to the group which was now counting only nine men, but the strong digs of Cavagna and Vakoč prevented this from happening. Inside the undulating final kilometer, which included some cobblestone sections, Matteo Trentin fired from afar, but the move launched by Italian was countered by Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Soudal), who then latched onto the wheel of the multiple Vuelta a España stage winner and burst past him with 100 meters left to take the victory.
"The race was very hard. Once only nine riders were left at the front, it became a battle between them and the peloton, which they managed to keep at all times at one minute. Fortunately, we had strong riders there, who did some great pulls at the front. Then, Matteo tried from far out. He's had success with this tactic before, but today it didn't work out as planned. It ended up being a too long sprint, but at the end of the day we are satisfied with how the whole team raced", said sport director Tom Steels after Binche-Chimay-Binche, where Quick-Step Floors placed two more riders in the top ten, Rémi Cavagna (6th) and Petr Vakoč (8th).
Across the border, in Germany, Marcel Kittel closed out his season at the 12th edition of the Münsterland Giro. A four-man breakaway established a five-minute lead over the peloton early in the race, but the sprinters' teams, including Quick-Step Floors, kept the attackers on a leash and reeled them in with 17 kilometers remaining.
The high speed meant no one attacked until the finish, where one of the tightest battles for victory of the season unfolded. Four riders were in the mix for the win and crossed the line separated by just a few centimeters. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) was the one to prevail, while Marcel – who had the highest top speed – came home fourth and thus put an end to his season, one in which he took five Tour de France stages and a record-fifth triumph at Scheldeprijs
Quick-Step Floors – who continue to lead the victory rankings with 51 UCI victoriers – will be in action this week in three more races: Milano-Torino, Il Lombardia (the final Monument of the year) and Paris-Tours.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele