The 15th Handzame Classic over a 192.7k course from Bredene to Kortemark took place on Friday with Team KATUSHA ALPECIN’S Baptiste Planckaert in the thick of the action for the sprint finish. The Belgian rider just missed making the podium to take fourth place but sees his form continue to build as the heart of the classics season approaches.
“It was a real hard race because it was very windy today. Specifically, there was a lot of headwind on the course, and also in the final local lap. The whole team did a really good job in the race. With Mads (Würtz Schmidt) we had one guy in the break to put the other teams under pressure. In the last kilometers, I think we came too late to the front. This is not a reproach, because the guys worked a lot and we were all tired. With 2 km to go I was alone and tried to find the right rear wheel. I had to come from relatively far back to the front and this cost me a lot of power. More than 4th place was not possible in the end,” said Baptiste Planckaert.
The sprint final was won by Kristoffer Halvorsen of Team Joker Icopal with a time of 4:15:31 (45.249 km/h). All on the same time were Adam Blythe of Aqua Blue Sport for second place, Kenny Dehaes (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) in third and Planckaert in fourth.
Baptiste Planckaert has had a strong season so far in 2017, taking top ten results in the Tour Down Under, Algarve and Murcia and looks to more success in his upcoming races.
Photo credit © Tim De Waele