Nokere Koerse concludes with bunch gallop
At the end of a fast and aggressive race, Etixx – Quick-Step placed two riders in the top 20.
The 70th edition of the Belgian one-day event was a fast one right from the beginning, with an average speed of 48 km for the first hour, which made any breakaway attempt in vain. Things calmed down only after the 55 km mark, when seven riders managed to extricate themselves from the peloton: David Boucher (Crelan-Vastgoudservice), Kenny De Ketele (Topsport Vlaanderen), Kevyn Ista (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Matthias Legley (Veranglassic-AGO), Florian Senechal (Cofidis), Brian Van Goethem (Roompot Oranje) and Peter Williams (ONE Pro Cycling).
The maximum advantage hit 2:30, before the peloton began the real chase and eventually caught the escapees with rather ease, inside the final 45 kilometers of the race. A series of attacks soon followed, as more and more cyclists hoped they will open a solid gap on the pack. One of the riders to try an all or nothing move was Lukasz Wisniowski, with less than 5 kilometers to go, but he too was brought back.
The victory was played on the Nokereberg climb, where Timothy Dupont (Verandas Willems) sprinted to the win ahead of Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Joker) and Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo). Etixx – Quick-Step was also in the mix, with Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and neo-pro Davide Martinelli, who gave their all on the final hill of the day, finishing the race in 14th, respectively 16th.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele