Belgian Jasper Philipsen won the Grand Prix de l’Escaut on Wednesday, after a sprint in a peloton of 30 riders, where he beat Deceuninck-Quick Step riders Sam Bennett and Mark Cavendish .
Victorious in the Tour of Flanders, the E3 Grand Prix, the Het Nieuwsblad or even Brugge-De Panne in recent weeks, the Belgian team Deceuninck-Quick Step was counting on continuing its formidable momentum during the Grand Prix. de l’Escaut, this Flandrian semi-classic created in 1907 which takes place in the province of Antwerp. This Wednesday, there were indeed two riders from the Belgian team on the podium, but none on the top step!
The two Deceuninck-Quick Step sprinters, Sam Bennett and Mark Cavendish, were indeed trapped by Jasper Philipsen, who thus signs his first victory of the season. The 23-year-old Belgian from the Alpecin-Fenix team, perfectly launched by Jonas Rickaert and Dries De Bondt, won this sprint in a peloton of 30 elements. Bennett, the green jersey from the last Tour de France, and Cavendish, the former world champion, in search of a victory since February 2018, have failed to put it back together. The Belgian team should perhaps have bet on a single rider instead of two … Philipsen in any case won the fifth victory of its professional career, the first since that on the last Vuelta.
Before this sprint at 30, this Grand Prix de l’Escaut had been marked by the forfeit of the Groupama-FDJ team of Arnaud Démare due to a case of covid, and of Nacer Bouhanni, not able to compete in this race. race because of recent events, but also by the wind which created many borders. The peloton split into three after 30 kilometers following a crash, then reformed fifteen kilometers later. But after 70 kilometers, thirteen riders accelerated, followed by 17 others, and the group of 30 formed and remained united until the finish. Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Clément Russo (Arkéa-Samsic) and Marc Sarreau (AG2R-Citroën) represented France. Sénéchal worked for Bennett and Cavendish, Russo took a nice 5th place and Sarreau ninth.
GRAND PRIX DE L’ESCAUT
Final classification (194.2km) – Wednesday April 7, 2021
1- Jasper Philipsen (BEL / Alpecin-Fenix)
2- Sam Bennett (IRL / Deceuninck-Quick Step)
3- Mark Cavendish (GBR / Deceuninck-Quick Step)