Race report

Søren Kragh Andersen 5th after attacking team display at Gent-Wevelgem


The Flemish classics continued today at Gent Wevelgem, with a 248 kilometre parcours on the menu for the bunch; featuring dirt road ‘plugstreets’ and several ascensions of the famous Kemmelberg climb. It was a fast start to the day as lots of teams tried to make the breakaway, included our very own Team DSM guys. Eventually the elastic snapped and Nikias Arndt made the seven rider move for the team, with the group quickly building up an advantage north of five minutes.

As the kilometres ticked by their gap slowly reduced before with still over 100 kilometres to go a fall in the bunch completely blocked the road, leaving Cees Bol and Søren Kragh Andersen in chasing groups behind the peloton. Working well together, they managed to make contact before the hills and plugstreets started in earnest and the race stitched back together at the front. Gliding up the ascents, Kragh Andersen followed the best over the climbs and after some good positioning work by Arndt and John Degenkolb, he was in an elite group of eight with 30 kilometres to go.

However, into the block headwind things regrouped before a four rider move jumped clear with around 20 kilometres remaining. Degenkolb and Kragh Andersen hung tight in the peloton, allowing other teams with sprinters to do the work before Kragh Andersen rolled the dice one last time, launching a stinging attack at two kilometres to go. Battling into the headwind, Kragh Andersen dug deep all the way to the finish, just holding off the peloton for a fine fifth place behind the attacking quartet.

“Today was a long day in the end, but we were happy to have Nikias in front in the break. That was the first important part,” explained Kragh Andersen at the finish. “I was caught behind the crash before the hill zone but luckily I had teammates with me to help me come back. From then on I was feeling good in the hills and tried to follow, follow, follow. I was happy to be there with the best on the climbs. In the end, we had to gamble a little bit after the last time up the Kemmelberg and some guys stayed away but I’m really happy to have got a nice top five for the team.”

Team DSM coach Phil West added: “We wanted to focus on how we rode as a team today. We’ve made some good steps in the races so far and we wanted to make that next step today. It was about riding well and tightly as a unit, have good communication and being in the right spots so we could be part of the race. We wanted to be represented in the moves from the start and Nikias did a good job of getting into that break. From there on it was about positioning for the key sections, where the race can be won or lost. As it went, I’m really happy with how the guys performed today; it was a really step up from the guys as a team. We had Søren in the front in the final and unfortunately the group he was in came back and the four riders slid off. We continued with our plan, which was always for Søren to make a late attack, and in the end that brought us fifth today. We can be happy with that, but I’m equally and if not more happy with how we performed and rode as a team today.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 GIRMAY Biniam Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux 5:37:57 500
2 LAPORTE Christophe Jumbo-Visma ,, 400
3 VAN GESTEL Dries TotalEnergies ,, 325
5 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team DSM 0:08 225
27 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM ,, 20
49 ARNDT Nikias Team DSM 1:22 10
82 MÄRKL Niklas Team DSM 9:56 -
1005 HEINSCHKE Leon Team DSM -05:37:57 -
1005 BOL Cees Team DSM ,, -
1005 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM ,, -