Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ewan strikes gold at La Côte Picarde

Ewan beats out Sean De Bie (Photo:
Caleb Ewan (Australia) won his 2nd race in eight days as he got himself into the right breakaway with only 15 kilometers left and outsprinted Sean De Bie (Belgium) and Simon Yates (Great Britain) to win La Côte Picarde.

Australian squad before the race; Ewan 2nd from left
The race was fast from the start as multiple attacks tried to establish an advantage without much success. The lone attacker from Saturday's Ronde van Vlaanderen, Frenchman Alexis Gougeard, was at it again but this time with other guys. He was apart of an early breakaway of seven that was joined by 12 more, including Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (France) and Jorne Carolus (Belgium), with 110km to go.

With around 80 kilometers to go, a group of 7 formed including Jonathan Dibben (GB), Philip Lindau (Sweden), Janis Dakteris (Latvia), Nurbolat Kulimbetov (Kazakhstan), Daniel Klemme (Germany), Benoit Poitevin (France) and Mark Dzamastagic (Slovenia). This group would dominate the next 60 kilometers and sweep up all of the KOM points, with Dzamastagic winning the competition with three 1st places and a 2nd. There gap got to a maximum of 2'05" at 65km to go before being slowly brought back by the chasing peloton.

On the 4th KOM point with 36km to go, Mark Dzamastagic took the points and along with Lindau and Poitevin, accelerated over the top and broke away from their fellow break companions. Simultaneously, Jasper Stuyven (Belgium) used the climb as a launch point and bridged up to the group of four that had been dropped by the leading trio. Stuyven's group was eventually caught by the chasing peloton and with 25km to go, the race was brought back together.

The final lap of the race began with 18km to go and on the final KOM point at 17km to go, Simon Yates (GB) launched an attack and quickly got a gap. A group of four was able to breakaway from the peloton including Caleb Ewan, Sean De Bie, Jan Polanc (Slovenia) and Kristian Haugaard Jensen (Denmark). Yates continued to plow on as the advantage between he and the peloton grew but with just 5km left in the race, the chasing four latched on to the Points Race World Champion.

The gap grew between the leading five and the peloton and coming into the final straight, Ewan lead the sprint out and easily won the race ahead of a tight sprint for 2nd, won by De Bie with Simon Yates in 3rd. In the sprint behind, Christophe Laporte (France) beat out U23 Ronde winner Rick Zabel (Germany) and Yoeri Havik (Netherlands) for 6th place.
1 Caleb Ewan (Australia)2 Sean De Bie (Belgium)3 Simon Yates  (Great Britain)4 Kristian Haugaard Jensen (Danemark)5 Jan Polanc (Slovenia6 Christophe Laporte (France)7 Rick Zabel (Germany)8 Yoeri Havik (Netherlands)9 Campbell Flakemore (Australia)10 Edward Theuns (Belgium)11 Kristoffer Skjerping (Norway)12 Viktor Manakov (Russia)13 Daniel Freitas (Portugal)14 Andreas Hofer (Austria)15 Patrick Konrad (Austria)16 Ulises Castillo Soto (World Cycling Centre/UCI Mixed)17 Takero Terasaki (Japan)18 Daniel Hoelgaard (Norway) 19 Haavard Blikra (Norway)20 Stefan Küng (Switzerland)

Belgium is now leading the Nations Cup classification but with this weekend's ZLM Tour, the standings could easily change once again.

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