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A Travers la Flandre. Day in the breakaway for Kazakh rider Zhandos Bizhigitov

At today’s Belgian Classic ‘A Travers la Flandre’, it was Kazakh rider Zhandos Bizhigitov who formed the day’s breakaway together with seven other riders. But in today’s final, he was not able to follow the group with the strongest riders of the day, with Mathieu van der Poel taking the victory out of a group of five. Davide Ballerini was the first rider to cross the line for Astana Pro Team, finishing 17th after a strong performance in today’s final. 

- It was a nice classic race with a very fast start. There were many attacks in the first 55-60 km and after that finally, our group of 8 riders went away. We had a good group of riders up there in front of the race, we managed to organize a good collaboration between us. Later in the final part, the break splits and I came back in the peloton, where I also did some job for my teammates. In general, it was a good race for me, I can be satisfied with it, - said Zhandos Bizhigitov.

Today I felt very good, but in the end, I should have followed Mathieu van der Poel on the first time at the Knokteberg, but I thought it would be too early. At the second time Knokteberg, the pace was much higher and I didn't have the legs to follow Tiesj Benoot and Bob Jungels. After that moment we chased but were not able to close the gap with the leaders. So the only thing I could do was sprinting in the second group, but I got boxed in and couldn't deliver the sprint I wanted. So, the feeling was good, I'm happy with that, but of course I hoped for a better result than 17th. Now I'm looking forward to the race of Sunday, let's see what we can do there as a team, as I feel we're improving with every race, - said Davide Ballerini.

A final test for the Tour of Flanders today, as A Travers la Flandre is the last race before Sunday’s most important race in this region. And it was a good test for the riders of Astana Pro Team, as Zhandos Bizhigitov made it in the day’s breakaway. In the final, behind Bizhigitov, the favorites started to move at the Knokteberg. Davide Ballerini and Hugo Houle tried to close the gap with the leaders, as they worked hard at the front of the reduced bunch. In the end, a group of five riders made it to the finish with Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel taking his first World Tour victory. Just “19 seconds behind his group, Davide Ballerini finished in the second group, taking the 17th place today. 


Photo: ©Getty Images

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