Battling the Cobbles: Turgis in the Breakaway, Van Hooydonck Fifth28. May 2017, Roubaix (FRA) — Development Team
The dust has barely settled on the cobbles after an intense day of racing at the ‘Hell of the North’ with Tanguy Turgis riding out in front for most of the day and Nathan Van Hooydonck finishing fifth in a nail-biting finish on the iconic velodrome.
It was a nervous start to the day with lots of tentative early moves being shut down by the peloton before eventually, after the first of 21 cobbled sectors and 50km of racing, an eleven-rider group, including Turgis, extended a narrow lead over the bunch.
Meanwhile, the opening cobbles had taken their toll on some of the riders with Callum Scotson and Reto Müller both needing wheel changes and finding themselves battling to get back to the bunch.
Over the next two sectors, more riders jumped across to the leading group before the final selection was made and a group of ten riders, with Turgis, began to build up an advantage which had reached three minutes by KM 90.
With the relentless pace being set behind, and a forced stop at a train crossing, their gap begin to fall quickly heading into the second half of the race, and soon, with 80km to go, the group was hovering around 1’30” ahead.
Just 20km later, there was only 30 seconds separating the breakaway from the chasing bunch, which due to the high tempo was made up of only 50 riders, including Van Hooydonck, Bram Welten, and Jasper Philipsen.
At that moment, the fireworks began, and a constant stream of attacks forced riders to spread out all along the length of the road as they battled to bridge the gap to the leaders.
With every burst of acceleration, the gap only got smaller, and the race was back together with less than 50km to go but, as predicted, there was much more action to come.
Another 5-rider group, which once again contained Turgis, was able to go clear and build up a lead of around 30 seconds.
BMC Development Team remained active at the front of the bunch behind with Jasper Philipsen launching an attack before Van Hooydonck made the most of an opportunity to bridge across to the front group with 30km to go and on the approach to the Carrefour de l’Arbre.
While racing over some of the most iconic cobbles of the course, Van Hooydonck seized another opportunity to race for the win, attacking alongside two other riders as they reached the end of the sector.
The trio continued to push on at the front of the race but the chasing group wasn’t far behind, and as they began the final 10km of the day, their gap was sitting at 20 seconds.
As they entered the Roubaix velodrome, the chasers were hot on their wheels and in the end, the two groups were back together as the bell rang for the final lap.
Victory then came down to a final sprint for the line with Nils Eekhoff (Development Team Sunweb) taking the honors ahead of Guillaume Millasseau (Chambéry Cyclisme Formation) and Jordi Warlop (EFC - L& R - Vulsteke).
In the end, Van Hooydonck crossed the line fifth after a hard fought final race with BMC Development Team before making the step up to the UCI World Tour ranks as part of BMC Racing Team.
After an impressive ride out at the front of the race for the majority of the day, Turgis secured 15th in his Paris - Roubaix U23 debut.
Quotes From the Finish Line
Nathan Van Hooydonck:
“The team was incredible today. We had a little bit of bad luck on the first cobbled sector with multiple wheel changes needed, and that was a small set back for us but after I felt super strong, Bram Welten was looking good, and we continued to ride in the bunch. We had Tanguy Turgis, who was riding incredibly well at his first Paris - Roubaix, in front and for me, that was great to see. In terms of the finish, I’m not sure what I can say. It was emotional. In the finale, [DS] Klaas [Lodewyck] told me that the guy I was with was super strong and I was happy he did as I wouldn’t have known otherwise. So, when he attacked I knew I had to be there, and I went full gas to try and close the gap to his wheel before we continued to ride as a trio alongside a rider from Lotto-Soudal U23. I really wanted to win today, and I think in the end I played poker a little bit too much and the chasing group came back, which was a shame. For me, only winning counted today and I was disappointed immediately after the race. The confidence the team gave me was incredible, and I am very grateful for that.”
“I have had an incredible time racing with BMC Development Team, and I think the biggest moment of my career here was winning a stage at Ronde de l’Oise last year. It was an incredible moment. Plus all the victories we have taken this year and last year. For us, every win for the team feels like our own victory. I am really excited to start with BMC Racing Team in Luxembourg and begin a new chapter.”
“I went into the breakaway after the first cobbled sector, and we were 3'30" ahead of the bunch when we had to stop for a train. It was was not the same race after this, and the peloton came back quickly. I tried to again with five guys and then when Nathan Van Hooydonck joined us I tried to help him as much as I could, but after my previous efforts, I slipped back during the Carrefour de l’Arbre. I was completely at my limit over the last 10km, and the group I was in eventually came back to race for the win. I really wanted to help Nathan take the win in his last race with the team, so it is a little disappointing. I was happy with my race as this was my first time at Paris - Roubaix U23. Sometimes, the winner is not always the rider who showed the best form throughout the day, but that’s cycling, and overall it’s been a good week with the team, so I’m happy.”
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
“We had some bad luck on the opening cobbled sector with Reto Müller and Callum Scotson both needing wheel changes, and due to the fast pace, they lost touch with the main bunch. Having Tanguy Turgis in the breakaway was perfect for us, it took some of the pressure off the guys behind. Then, on sector 17, Wandignies, we decided to ride hard and split the peloton. It worked in the end, but it was difficult for us as we were the only team really riding at that point. In the end, Nathan Van Hooydonck made the final move on Carrefour de l’Arbre, and it looked like it could go all the way, but once again luck wasn’t really on our side, and they were caught with only 400m to go. It’s a pity as the guys were all riding really strong and it would have been great for that to have been rewarded with a podium finish. The guys really deserved it. We came here with big expectations, and everyone gave it everything they had so it is disappointing for everyone. But, we can’t let this lower our morale and I think we can still go into our next races with confidence.”
One day race: Peronne > Roubaix, 182.8km
Top 3: 1. Nils Eekhoff (Development Team Sunweb) 2. Guillaume Millasseau (Chambéry Cyclisme Formation) 3. Jordi Warlop (EFC - L& R - Vulsteke)
BMC Development Team Top 3: 5. Nathan Van Hooydocnk 15. Tanguy Turgis 27. Jasper Philipsen