Moscon impresses in Flanders

02 Apr 2017

Moscon impresses in Flanders

Related riders

Gianni Moscon rode to a strong 15th place as he finished among a group of contenders at the Tour of Flanders.

The young Italian was prominent at the head of the race as it split early on the famed climb of the Muur, and battled away as part of a strong breakaway group as the action intensified.
Moscon was able to narrowly avoid a crash that took out his team-mate Luke Rowe, and clung on as the race came back together and new attacks fired clear.
After expending a lot of energy Moscon arrived in Oudenaarde in an elite group battling for fifth place, 52 seconds back on a dominant Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors).
The Belgian national champion claimed one of the most impressive Classics victories in recent memory, attacking initially alongside Rowe and Moscon, before pushing ahead solo second time up the Oude-Kwaremont, with some 55 kilometres still to race.

Shortly after Rowe's luck ran out, with the Welshman left with nowhere to go as Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) slid out directly in front of him on the approach to the Paterberg with 52km to go. The Welshman was able to dust himself down and finish the race.
As Gilbert opened out a gap of a minute, an elite chase group formed behind, but drama struck final time up the Kwaremont as Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) hit a barrier, taking down Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Olivier Naesen (Ag2r-La Mondiale) in the process.
Van Avermaet was able to remount and held on for a gutsy second, winning the three-up sprint to decide the podium ahead of Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) and Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac).

After a relatively relaxed start out of sunny Antwerp, Team Sky took to the front ahead of the first of 18 Belgian bergs. Christian Knees monitored moves over the Berendries, while Owain Doull, Jon Dibben and Lukasz Wisnoiwski impressed on their Flanders debuts - helping position their leaders ahead of the key climbs. Dibben led the peloton onto the Muur, which saw the action kick off in earnest.
On his first Flanders Dibben told "I enjoyed it. My life got a lot easier when the break went straight away, so a lot of my planned work I didn't have to do. Then it was pretty chilled - we had 60-70km with the sun out and good crowds, just rolling along. Then boom - once it got to the Kwaremont first time it was on then. It was a big fight from there."
Jon Dibben

Jon Dibben

It was a really good atmosphere. I expected big crowds and it was just awesome.
The situation looked good following the Muur, with Moscon and Rowe ensconced in a strong group, with a number of big names having missed the move. The gap spun out to one minute, but the peloton eventually got organised and hauled it back - but not before Rowe had gone down and Gilbert had escaped to victory.

Back at the team bus Sport Director Servais Knaven added: "I think tactically it worked out well. The plan was to hit the Muur hard and we had a feeling Quick-Step would do the same. After that we had Luke and Gianni up there with three Quick-Step guys - 14 riders in total. That was a perfect situation. They took more than a minute but the gap began to come down before the second climb of the Kwaremont. 
"Then Gilbert went and we were still in a good position with two guys behind him. Then Luke crashed with Vanmarcke and we lost him there. Gianni was on his own and he did a really good ride. He's still young and it's hard on your own. But I'm proud of him and he can be proud of himself.
"As a team the guys were really good and strong riding together. They made sure everyone was in a good position on the Muur which was impressive."

Race result:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) 6:23:45
2. Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) +28"
3. Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) s.t.
4. Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac)
5. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) +52"
15. Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) s.t.