Drucker Sprints to Sixth as BMC Racing Team Helps Animate Binche-Chimay-Binche2. October 2018, Binche (BEL) — Road Team
Three of the younger riders on BMC Racing Team’s Binche-Chimay-Binche roster helped to animate the closing kilometers of today’s race before Jempy Drucker finished just outside the top five after a tough uphill sprint to the line.
As is expected in Belgium, it was an aggressive day of racing starting from kilometer zero, and despite allowing various groups to try and go away early, the peloton was still all together after covering a little over 60 kilometers, of the 197.4-kilometer course.
New attacks quickly followed with riders sensing another opportunity to distance themselves from the rest of the field, and it was a group of six riders that was able to open up an advantage that was sitting at almost three minutes less than 15 kilometers later.
At the start of the first of four laps of the 16-kilometer long finishing circuit around Binche, which included an uncategorized climb as well as the short but sharp cobbled climb up the Rue de la Pépinière, the breakaway was hovering just 30 seconds up the road.
The peloton, which had shrunk in size due to the intense pace being set as well as strong winds and wet weather, continued to drive a hard pace and as a result, the race was back together, and more riders began to try their luck, with 56 kilometers to go.
Tom Bohli, Nathan Van Hooydonck, and Loïc Vliegen were all animating the front of the race heading onto the second lap with Bohli eventually making it into a leading group of 20 riders going onto the penultimate lap while what was left of the main bunch sat 1’20” back and Van Hooydonck tried to bridge across in between.
Splits in the front group saw Bohli slip into the second group on the road which, as the bell rang to mark the start of the final lap, sat 45 seconds behind the ten leaders before being caught by the reduced peloton with 13 kilometers to go. It wasn’t long before Zdeněk Štybar (Quick-Step Floors) began a late solo effort, but with seven kilometers to go, he sat just 20 seconds ahead of the bunch, which was only 40 riders strong, as it swept up chasing group behind him.
A fierce tempo continued to be set behind the solo leader, and it looked inevitable that the race would come down to who was the strongest on the kick up towards the line and ultimately the honors went to Danny Van Poppel (Team LottoNLJumbo)
Tthe race came back together with just one kilometer to go, and it was then, just as the remaining riders headed onto the cobbles for the final time, that Van Poppel launched his ultimately winning move.
Drucker, who came into Binche-Chimay-Binche after racing at the UCI World Road Race Championships on Sunday, pushed on behind Van Poppel after being led onto the final ascent of the climb by his teammate Jürgen Roelandts and, although the gradient began to take its toll, he eventually sprinted to sixth on the line.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
"It was a tough race especially with the weather conditions and the hard racing. At the beginning of the day, I wasn't feeling super great after coming here straight from Worlds. But, towards the end, on the final circuits, I felt better and better which was good as the race was really full gas at this point."
"The plan at the start of the day was to make sure we followed the moves so it was good to have Nathan and Loïc following the attacks in the final before Tom made it into the big group which eventually split. Luckily for us, Team LottoNl-Jumbo worked to close the gap and Jürgen then did a good job to keep me in position going into the final kilometers before leading me onto the climb. Van Poppel went away and I didn't see it immediately. He was strong in the end and I just tried to do a good sprint behind him. It was hard though."
"I finished sixth and that's a good result for me I think. It's a win or a podium finish but I was still up there and it shows that my shape is good at this late part of the season."
Sports Director, Allan Peiper:
"It wasn't actually too chaotic at the start. Of course, the pace was always high and there were crosswinds so everyone was nervous and there were small groups of two and four going away initially. When we got to Chimay at the wind turned around, six riders were able to get a reasonable advantage of up to three minutes."
"A couple of teams then started to chase behind and that brought the gap down going onto the finishing circuits where we had Loïc, Nathan, and Tom in different groups. Tom was in the strong group from which Štybar jumped off the front and that was a good place to be. It was good to see us present in those moves and in the thick of the action."
"Štybar was then caught just before the final climb and Jürgen led Jempy into the base of that after Team LottoNL-Jumbo had closed the gap. We had talked about doing that this morning and even though Jürgen had been sick last week, he was able to hand in there all day to help position Jempy for the sprint. Jempy said he felt a bit legless on the climb but he was still able to sprint to sixth."
"All in all, it was a good ride by the team and three of our young guys were in the action when it was really kicking off and Jempy and Jürgen did what they had to do at the right moment. We can't ask for more than that."
One-day race: Binche > Binche, 197.4km
Top 3: 1. Danny Van Poppel (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) 2. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) 3. Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 6. Jempy Drucker 30. Jürgen Roelandts 39. Nathan Van Hooydonck