Lampaert takes second in Binche-Chimay-Binche
Zdenek Stybar launches an all-in attack with twenty kilometers to go, but gets caught before the red kite.
Three months after riding to a beautiful and memorable victory at the Belgian Championships, Yves Lampaert returned to Binche for the 31st edition of the Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke as part of a strong Quick-Step Floors line-up, which was back in action nine days after conquering the gold medal in Austria, at the World TTT Championships, where Yves was among those playing an important role in this extraordinary feat.
The second part of the 197.4km-long race consisted of five laps of a rolling circuit which included also an uphill cobblestone sector, and it was on the third of these laps that a large group took off from the peloton. Both Yves Lampaert and Zdenek Stybar featured in that move and brought their fair share of pace-setting, helping the newly-formed group put one minute between them and the bunch as they approached the last 25 kilometers.
After several skirmishes, all easily nullified, Zdenek Stybar kicked clear of the group and helped by his teammate, who duly shut down all attempts to chase him, opened a 25-second gap over his former companions. Despite not being favoured by the long and exposed roads inside the last ten kilometers, Zdenek continued to press on, hoping he could repeat the 2014 victory, but the pack's concerted efforts got him reabsorbed with the flamme rouge in sight.
As Lampaert was moving through the splintered field towards the front with 800 meters to go, Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) accelerated and powered to a solo victory in the small Walloon town, where Yves concluded second for his eighth podium of the season. Apart from Yves, two more Quick-Step Floors riders finished in the upper part of the general classification, Danish stagiaire Mikkel Honoré (11th) and Philippe Gilbert (15th).
"The race was closed in the first part, due to the headwind, so it was on the local laps that we tried to put things in motion, but it didn't work, as many riders were still fresh. Eventually, we managed to put two guys in a big group of twenty riders, before forcing a selection and reducing the number of the men up front to just eight", said sports director Rik van Slycke. "Styby went from afar, and despite not getting too much space, he really believed he could make it and gave everything out there. When he got caught, Lampaert came forward and took a solid second, while Mikkel finished not far off, after helping the team throughout the race. I think we can be happy with how we raced today, animating the race and trying to seize every opportunity."
Photo credit: ©Justin Setterfield/ Getty Images