Stybar wins BinckBank Tour points jersey
Quick-Step Floors place two riders in the top 10 overall and retain the World Tour team classification lead.
Zdenek Stybar's aggressive ride on the final stage of the BinckBank Tour (Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure – Geraardsbergen, 215.6 kilometers) netted him the points jersey, which came in addition to Quick-Step Floors winning the team classification and having second-year pro Maximilian Schachmann finish just outside the podium, after an intense day whose star attraction was the legendary Muur-Kapelmuur – Bosberg combo, which until 2011 witnessed the emergence of champions and unforgettable stories at the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
Unforgiving cobbles, steep hills, crazy speeds, bonus seconds, attacks, and riders going all in as they leapfrogged their way in the GC – stage 7 of the week-long race had the whole shebang and provided quite the show, with the Quick-Step Floors boys once again among the protagonists. As the kilometers ticked away, attacks intensified, at the center of these being 2013 champion Zdenek Stybar, who kicked on from the front group and piled up the pressure on overall leader Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) as soon as the bunch hit the penultimate lap.
His brave moves caused the peloton to split on several occasions and the pace to go up by the kilometer, as the pack continued to shed riders off the back. Despite the countless attacks, it all surprisingly came back together at the foot of the legendary Muur van Geraardsbergen and the stage – which concluded on the lower slopes of the Muur – ended in a bunch sprint won by Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) ahead of Greg Van Avermaert (BMC) and Zdenek Stybar.
The Czech's extraordinary consistency (three podiums on the race's six road stages) and massive efforts saw him get rewarded with the red jersey, which teammate Fabio Jakobsen, victorious on the opening day, got to wear for a couple of stages before stopping through illness. It was one of the numerous standout results of Quick-Step Floors throughout the week, which also included Maximilian Schachmann's fourth overall – after an amazing ride and show of strength, which proved that he's more than meets the eye – five places ahead of former victor Niki Terpstra, who expertly clawed his way into the top 10 on the final day.
"The stage was hard from the beginning, with average speeds reaching 50km/h in the first hour, and this made things even more complicated on the narrow and twisty roads. Being far in the ranking I tried several times, hoping to make it all the way to the line, but unfortunately, it didn't work out. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the stage, as it was fun, and I leave home happy with the legs I had here and the points jersey I got", Zdenek Stybar said after collecting his prize on the podium.
Our squad's excellent BinckBank Tour resulted in Quick-Step Floors take an ever more commanding lead, of nearly 2000 points, over the closest rival in the World Tour team standings. Next stop on the calendar will be the Vuelta a España, which starts on August 25, from the Mediterranean city of Malaga.
Photo credit: ©Justin Setterfield/ Getty Images