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by Mark Zalewski
March 16, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Bouhanni wins Nokere Koerse; UK Sport went easy on British Cycling for medals; USA Cycling reveals Pro Road Championship courses; Strange incident in final kilometres of Nokere Koerse; Van Avermaet ready for San Remo; Riders already saying goodbye to Boonen; Melbourne cyclist who was shot speaks about incident; Rapha looking to sell?; 77-year-old cyclist to ride entire Giro course for charity; Perth cyclists draw a Strava goat; 2017 Cape Epic trailer.
Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) took a strong field sprint win at Nokere Koerse in Belgium, after a tense final 10km that saw multiple crashes. Bouhanni led from a long way out on the slightly uphill finish to win by a large margin ahead of Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) and Joeri Stalaert (Cibel – Cebon).
The main break was caught at 23.5km to go and counter attacks immediately launched right and left, with a group of four eventually creating a small gap. However, the speed of the sprinter’s teams made it such that no breaks looked to be allowed to go.
British champ Adam Blythe had a front flat with 15km go. Luckily a teammate was present to immediately offer his front wheel. Just before 10km to go a crash occurred about ten riders from the front, taking out Cofidis lead-out man Rayne Bouhanni, who was visibly upset to not to be able to help get his brother a first win of the season.
At 7km to go Floris Gerts (BMC) went solo. Not long after his attack another crash occurred mid-peloton that took out defending champion Timothy Dupont (Vérandas Willems-Crelan). This gave Gerts an additional advantage and four other riders broke off in pursuit. Again, another crash took out more riders, including Aime De Gendt (Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise) and four from another team. Up front another rider had joined Gerts, but it was short lived.
In the finale the course curved multiple times as it entered town, with the road kicking up to the finish. The only team with a lead-out was WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect with three on the front. But they were jumped by a Cofidis rider who led the group to the final curve where Bouhanni then took off, leaving the rest in his wake.