Wisniowski second in Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen
Following an aggressive ride in Sunday's stage, the 24-year-old jumped one place in the general classification.
Everyone knew it was an all or nothing day for the riders targeting the overall glory at the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, and many teams made their way to the front of the peloton from kilometer zero of stage 2 (Nieuwpoort – Ichtegem, 182.7 km) and pushed a high tempo which fragmented the group. 60 riders got clear, including four of Etixx – Quick-Step, but as some of the men weren't willing to share duties, they were eventually reeled in by the peloton led by BMC, the team of yellow jersey wearer Tom Bohli.
After the junction was made, four riders got green light and managed to put two minutes between them and the chasers, before their action came to an end on the difficult local circuit, which included two climbs (Catteberg and Keiberg) and a 400-m long cobbled stretch. There, second-placed Lukasz Wisniowski attacked with six other riders – Sean De Bie (Lotto-Soudal), Timothy Dupont (Verandas Willems), Xandro Meurisse (Crelan-Vastgoedservice), Olivier Pardini (Wallonie Bruxelles), Nils Politt (Katusha) and Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) – and in the blink of an eye they built a 55-second gap.
Lukasz, who's in his second season with the team, shared the duties at the front and did some strong pulls, in order to make sure that the small group will prevail. With 15 kilometers to go, Florian Senechal (Cofidis) and Jelle Wallays (Lotto-Soudal) tried to bridge, but no matter how hard they rode, they couldn't catch the leaders, whose pace never came down, and in the last 3 kilometers it became clear that the winner will come from the seven-man group.
As those riders hit the final 400 meters of the stage, Wisniowski tried to take his fellow attackers by surprise, but he couldn't outsprint them and eventually finished 5th in the stage won by Timothy Dupont. Still, 24-year-old Lukasz had reasons to smile at the end of the day, as he was runner-up in the general classification – just behind De Bie, who took the yellow jersey thanks to the bonus seconds – becoming the second Polish rider to finish Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen on the podium.
"Today was a really hard day, windy and with a little bit of rain, but the team supported me throughout the stage, which was fantastic. Then, on the final circuit, following a fight for an intermediate sprint, the breakaway took off. Even though I missed on the victory, I am happy of my result and my condition. Etixx – Quick-Step did an amazing job this week, and I wish to thank all my teammates for their work", said Lukasz after the Belgian race.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele