Dylan Van Baarle gambled on a 50km solo break to win cycling’s Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday rampaging over more than a dozen hills and tricky cobbled roads.
Also known as the ‘Around Flanders’ the 180km race is a precursor to the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, and many of the contenders for the event competed in the sunshine through the lush-green fields here.
Van Baarle broke with 52km to go with most of the 13 hills still ahead of him. His relenteless effort was of such power the peloton, including world champion Julian Alaphilippe and Mathieu van der Poel, eventually gave up the chase.
“To win a semi-classic is super special. It’s really important. Last year was a difficult year with everything that happened, but now we are on the good way,” said Van Baarle. “We’re approaching the classics a bit differently this year – much more attacking. It’s nice to race like this. I’m happy I could finish it off.”
Annemiek van Vlueten won the women’s race earlier in the day beating Kasia Niewiadoma in a long range sprint after the pair had been involved in a breakaway.