Nils Politt continues to ride well this season, taking 5th place in the 103rd Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday and clearly showing that the monuments of cycling are his prime focus. His good form put him ahead of the likes of Michael Matthews and current and former world champions Alejandro Valverde and Peter Sagan, showing Politt's efforts in the spring classics are progressing in the right direction.
Nils Politt: “Last year I was 7th in Roubaix and now this time fifth in Flanders. This is really, really nice. Also the team did such a good job today. I messed up a bit on the Muur and the team had to chase but they did a great job. And we managed to come back and close the gap.”
A first-time win was on hand for Alberto Bettiol of EF Education First, taking a solo win with a time of 6:18:49 on the 270.1km course (42.78km/h). Second at 14-seconds was Kasper Asgreen of Deceuninck-QuickStep and Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) lead in the sprint field including Politt at 17-seconds.
Team Director Dirk Demol: “Since the beginning of the season we’ve been working toward these important weeks where we have one hard race after another. From his efforts today, we see Nils is really, really close to being on top. I believe he will win a monument. He just missed a little bit. I’m confident that it’s coming.”
Politt continued to asses his performance, saying, “The last time for the Paterberg I was totally empty but managed to recover in the last 10 kilometers and do a great sprint. It was a nice feeling.”
In a difficult race like Flanders, mechanicals are frequent and often untimely. Despite losing a few team riders on course today,was still optimistic. “We lost two key riders on the Muur. Reto had a flat tire just before and then Marco also had a bike problem with a spectator so we lost him too. There isn’t much you can do. Nils finishing fifth makes it all good.”
Mid-week racing on Wednesday will be Scheldeprijs before next Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix.
Photos c. @gettysport