In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Michael Valgren wins the men’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad; Christina Siggaard a surprise winner in the women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad; Dylan Groenewegen takes out Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne; Alejandro Valverde victorious at the Abu Dhabi Tour; Ellen van Dijk rides to Omloop van het Hageland victory; Hannah Barnes wins the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana; Astana in doubt due to ‘critical’ funding issues; Martin Vestby joins Mitchelton-Scott women’s team as sports director; Dumoulin’s Abu Dhabi dummy-spit; Photo galleries from NAHBS.
Valgren wins Het Nieuwsblad, Valverde shines in Abu Dhabi: Daily News Digest
Dylan Groenewegen’s impressive start to the 2018 season rolls on, the LottoNL-Jumbo sprinter adding victory at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne to his win at the Dubai Tour and his two successes at the Volta ao Algarve.
The breakaway was only caught by the peloton in the final kilometre of the 200.1km semi-classic as the sprinters thundered into Kurrne to contest the victory. Groenewegen took a comfortable victory in the win, leaving Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) to take second and third respectively.
“I may have won this sprint very easily, but the two hundred kilometers before that were anything but easy,” Groenewegen said. “It was cold, very windy and at times the pace was very high. After the Oude Kwaremont, the peloton broke into several groups and I ended up in the third group. But the team brought me back to the front perfectly.
“This is a very good victory and one for the entire team. When I started my sprint, I knew it was early, but I also knew I could finish it off. The fact that I have won here proves that I can handle the heavier classic work. This is a nice confirmation.”
Groenewegen had missed a seemingly crucial move over the Oude Kwaremont with roughly 80km to go; a move that featured the likes of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Demare, Colbrelli and Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac). But thanks to the work of LottoNL-Jumbo and later Astana, the lead group was eventually brought back. A new trio got clear with 10km to go — Julien Vermote (Dimension Data), Julien Duval (Ag2r-La Mondiale), and Loïc Vliegen (BMC) — and were only accounted for with 200m to go.