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Changing of the guard

09a27226cf59a3b68b06f2430c0c9191 - Changing of the guard

Jakob Fuglsang is just tussenpaus for new Ardennenkoning Julian Alaphilippe

Changing of the guard

In Liège fell yesterday, with the canvas on a classic spring in which the established values ontgoochelden.

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The Dane Jakob Fuglsang has won in the autumn of his career with liège-Bastogne-Liège, finally, a great classic. Benoit Doppagne/belga

Jakob Fuglsang is just tussenpaus for new Ardennenkoning Julian Alaphilippe

Changing of the guard

In Liège fell yesterday, with the canvas on a classic spring in which the established values ontgoochelden.

Spring classics

Read more below


Benedict Vanclooster

Hatch The finish line of liège-Bastogne-Liège was moved from the Ans to the heart of the Fiery City, the announced sparks on La Redoute remained, and also of the predicted fourth episode of ‘the Big Duel’, there was nothing in the house. Julian Alaphilippe was in the Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race and the Flèche wallonne become the black beast of Jakob Fuglsang. Yesterday were the two favourites once again in each other’s neighbourhood, until they are on the way to La Redoute a few words exchanged: ‘Julian said: I hope you win today. Apparently he felt already that he was not at his best, was told Fuglsang.

Alejandro Valverde, for many years the king of the Ardennes, was already no more. The world champion squeezed the brakes close on more than a hundred kilometres from the finish. Last year he was still second in the Flèche wallonne and fifth in the Amstel Gold Race, despite a carrièrebedreigende a fall in the Tour nine months earlier. Last week, dropped he there anywhere irrevocably through. The rain may be his achilles heel and champions commits never to write, this task smoke heavily towards the end of an era.

What is already applied, after the ardennes classics now entirely clear: the cyclist is allowed after this spring, the compass recalibrate. Such as Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet is no longer the reference in the Flemish classics, it is also Valverde who status to lose in the Ardennes.

Danish Van Avermaet

Already longer than last week, it was clear that the successor of the Spaniard in the heuvelwerk Alaphilippe (26) is called, also already paid yesterday, the toll of a long spring. On his 34th is Fuglsang, at most, a tussenpaus. It does not prevent the Dane in the autumn of his career working on his best season. At the beginning of this season, he won all of the overall classification of the Ruta del Sol and a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico.

Until a few years ago offered Fuglsang as an apprentice are often opportunities for, among others, the Luxembourg brothers Schleck and Vincenzo Nibali. Only after the departure of the latter he could be in 2017 after four years of drought, again the zegegebaar. Fuglsang then won the Dauphiné.

Up to yesterday, had the ex-mountain biker in over ten seasons in the elite all 19 UCI-profkoersen won, but strangely enough never a one day race (two national tijdrittitels not counted). He was the Danish version of the young Van Avermaet: a rider of just not. Kenschetsend was his second place finish in the olympic road race in Rio. Fuglsang was known as the best possible vluchtgezel: he always drives and he is not quick to the mark.

“I knew I had to tackle as my former leader Andy Schleck ten years ago. I had mapped in my head that my finish on the top layer of La Roche-aux-Faucons. We started first with the three of them. When Woods remained sitting there, I knew: either he sits on his limit, or will he save. When I then looked back, he was off. A little later I also had a few metres on Davide (Formolo, eds.). From then on, it was win or die.”

Fuglsang gave Astana yesterday the 25th victory of the season, the same as Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Never before performed the Kazakh team so strong in the first months of the season. The explanation that Fuglsang previously thought, seemed suspiciously strong on a night of The Wolfpack. “By early in the year to win, the morale in the team is high and everyone is prepared for a different way to arithmetic. This team is also as strong in the breadth that a lot of riders can win.’

Interestingly enough, it was liège-Bastogne-Liège for Astana to be the first victory in a one day race this season, the Asian championships shall be disregarded. The troops of Deceuninck – Quick-Step were the absolute rulers in the eendagswerk, with earnings in more than half of the most important classics (see inset).

Strong in the width

The image of the spring did the Belgians even in the last classic race for the minor placings, but not to profit. Philippe Gilbert yesterday on ‘his’ La Redoute is already in the rear ranks, is the only Belgian there this spring, succeeded to one of the fifteen major one day cycling races to win. In terms of victories was the spring of 2019 for the Belgians historically lean. Since the First world War shots of our countrymen only two times less in the rose: in 1940, when only two classics were staged and Achiel Buysse in the Tour of Flanders won, and in 2013, when no Belgian victory recorded.

Sport runs to win. Still, it would be shortsighted now the noodklokken to ring. Missing the Belgium currently scoring strikers, no other country has such a wide board. Of the 150 toptienplaatsen who this spring were divided, went 39 to Belgian riders. That is still more than double that of Italy (18) Netherlands (17) France (16) Germany (11), that the top five complete. In La Doyenne ended yesterday with Dylan Teuns, ninth, for the first time in five years, a Belgian in the top ten.

● Results: 1. Jakob FUGLSANG (Den/Astana Pro Team) 256.0 miles in 6u37’37” (avg.: 38.63 km/h); 2. Davide Formolo (Ita) 27”; 3. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) 57”; 4. Adam Yates (GBr); 5. Michael Woods (Can); 6. David Gaudu (Fra); 7. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa); 8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) 1’00”; 9. Dylan Teuns 1’05”; 10. Wout Poels (Ned) 1’26”; 11. Tim Wellens 1’29”

Spring classics

2 march

Omloop het Nieuwsblad Zdenek Stybar (Ch/DQT)

3 march

Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Bob Jungels (Lux/DQT)

9 march

Strade Bianche Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/DQT)

23 march

Milan-Sanremo Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/DQT)

29 march

E3 BinckBank Classic Zdenek Stybar (Ch/DQT)

31 march

Gent-Wevelgem Alexander Kristoff (Nor/UAD)

3 april

Across Flanders Mathieu van der Poel (Ned/COC)

7 april

Tour of Flanders Alberto Bettiol (Ita/EF1)

April 10,

Scheldeprijs Fabio Jakobsen (Ned/DQT)

April 14,

Paris-Roubaix Philippe Gilbert (Bel/DQT)

17 april

Brabantse pijl Mathieu van der Poel (Ned/COC)

21 april

The Amstel Gold Race, Mathieu van der Poel (Ned/COC)

April 24,

Walloon Arrow Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/DQT)

28 april

Liège-Bastogne-liège Jakob Fuglsang (Den/AST)

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