BE Belgium 17 Mar 198 km

Handzame Classic

BE Belgium 17 Mar 198 km

Martinelli flies the flag for Quick-Step Floors at Handzame Classic

Martinelli flies the flag for Quick-Step Floors at Handzame Classic

The Italian notched up his first top 10 of the season at the tough Belgian one-day race.

Handzame Classic (198 kilometers) was once again a hectic and messy affair, made even more complicated by the strong wind, which prevented the attackers from getting a big gap over the peloton. One of these attempts had Iljo Keisse in the spotlight, as the 2015 Giro d'Italia stage winner tried his hand with a move inside the second part of the race, which saw him being joined by five other riders.

With 40 kilometers remaining, the sextet held a 50-second gap over the pack, but soon their road came to an end, as the wind and the furious pace set by chasers trimmed the gap and led to them being brought back before the 30-km to go mark. Others tried to forge an advantage, but this time it was Quick-Step Floors' powerhouse Tim Declercq who chased them down and made sure the 16th edition of Handzame Classic will end up in a bunch sprint.

Davide Martinelli made his way up through the pack with one kilometer to go and got involved in the fight for a good result, concluding the race won by Kristoffer Halvorsen (Joker Icopal) ahead of Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) and Kenny Dehaes (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) in 10th place. The 23-year-old Italian, now in his second season with Quick-Step Floors, made his first outing in two weeks, after a crash forced him to retire from Strade Bianche, and his result showed he is on the right track to return to the form which helped him land two victories in his debut year.

 

Photo credit: ©BrakeThrough Media


Quick-Step Floors Team to Handzame Classic

Quick-Step Floors Team to Handzame Classic

The 200km race set in West Flanders promises to deliver again in terms of spectacle and excitement.

Since Handzame Classic was created back in 2002, the Belgian race has always served as the perfect dress rehearsal for the big northern classics of the spring, as it blends treacherous cobbles, short hills (Stadenberg, Hoogledeberg, Gitsberg and Ruidenberg) and harsh weather conditions, all key ingredients for an aggressive and spectacular race, often won from a reduced bunch, just as it was the case in 2015, when our team took home the spoils.

Also this year, Quick-Step Floors – already the World Tour outfit with the most victories (16) since the start of the season – will send a strong squad at the start of the 198km-long race between Bredene and Handzame, consisting of Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, Tour of Belgium and Tour de Wallonie winner Dries Devenyns, Giro d'Italia stage victor Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Davide Martinelli (one of the best neo-pros of 2016), Maximilian Schachmann and Martin Velits.

 

Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele


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