Alvaro José Hodeg (Quick Step Floors) wins the 2018 Handzame Classic (204,1 km) over Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Sky) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe). The Colombian takes the first success in his career at the age of 21, showing up as a competitive sprinter with only two months of racing among professionals. Hodeg takes the spoils after a chaotic but fast final dozen of kilometers, at the end of which Bora-hansgrohe train moved to the front to lead out Ackermann: in the end the German’s sprint proved to be less effective than the Colombian joungster’s one. In this way Quick Step Floors doubles the success achieved Wednesday at the Nokere Koerse with Hodeg’s peer Fabio Jakobsen. Matteo Pelucchi (Bora-hansgrohe) finishes in fourth whereas former British Champion Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) completes today’s top-5.
The attacks started early today and after 17 km of racing, seven riders tried to go clear. The peloton didn’t let them get too far up the road and after a handful of kilometers reels in the break. The second attempt is the one. Peter Koning (Aqua Blue Sport), Bryan Nauleau (Direct Energie), Gatis Smukulis (Delko-Provence Marseille-KTM), Oscar Riesebeek (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), Adrian Kurek (CCC-Sprandi), evergreen David Boucher (Tarteletto-Isorex), Maikel Zijlaard (Hagens Berman-Axeon), Dennis Coenen (Cibel-Cebon), Ole Forfang (Joker-Icopal), Florian Stork (Development team Sunweb) attack and after 50 kilometers of racing they have a 4’ gap over the peloton.
The maximum gap was recorded with 140 kilometers to go, when the breakaway’s advantage went out to nearly seven minutes. With 108 kilometers remaining the race hit the iconic Kemmelberg, which split the peloton and really caused chaos in the race. By the way the peloton regrouped and headed the feedzone all together. At first Forfang dropped and, as soon as the leaders hit the final circuit around handzame, Stork and eighteen years old Zijlaard too. Katusha-Alpecin, Quick Step Floors, Team Sky and Wanty Groupe Gobert led the chase and at the meantime in the lead Riesebeek went solo with 18 kilometers to go. The breakaway is definitely swallowed by the bunch nine kilometers from home. The last twelve kilometers of racing have been chaotic and none of the lead-outs succeeded in heading the bunch until Bora-hansgrohe moved in the front despite the german squad didn’t lead its sprinter to success.
Handzame Classic 2018 results
1 HODEG Álvaro José Quick-Step Floors
2 HALVORSEN Kristoffer Team Sky
3 ACKERMANN Pascal BORA – hansgrohe
4 PELUCCHI Matteo BORA – hansgrohe
5 BLYTHE Adam Aqua Blue Sport
6 DEHAES Kenny WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
7 OLIVEIRA Rui Hagens Berman Axeon
8 TURGIS Tanguy Vital Concept Cycling Club
9 HOFLAND Moreno Lotto Soudal
10 KOCH Jonas CCC Sprandi Polkowice