BinckBank Tour (st. 1)
Bennett (BOH) wins first sprint after rain, cobblestones and crashes reduce the bunch; Blues safe despite some incidents. Rouleurs to stay at the front until Thursday’s hills.
Irishman Sam Bennett (BOH) is the first leader of the 2019 BinckBank Tour after a rainy 167km opener, from Beveren to Hulst, held in both nations (Belgium and the Netherlands) where this exciting WorldTour race for classics riders takes place.
The Movistar Team, down to six riders during this opener due to a DNF by Winner Anacona, had three of its members –Jürgen Roelandts, Jasha Sütterlin and Carlos Verona– inside the leading split after a crash into a cobblestone sector, around 60km from the end, broke the bunch into two. The trio was soon joined, with no major incident, by Héctor Carretero, Lluís Mas and Jaime Castrillo.
Roelandts, Mas and Sütterlin finished inside a selected bunch, which will continue to battle out between the road furniture, endless turns and nervous sections coming up through Thursday, when the first hills will loom around Houffalize. On to stage two on Tuesday! (Blankenberge – Ardooie, 169km).
Cover picture (c): BettiniPhoto