Tim van Dijke second in GP Denain after remarkable sprint
Tim van Dijke narrowly missed out on victory at the GP Denain. The 23-year-old Dutchman finished second after a spectacular race of almost 200 kilometres. He went off his click pedal upon entering the sprint. Juan Sebastian Molan won the race.
With 12 cobbled sections in the final 80 kilometres, the organisers of the French one-day race were hoping for a spectacle, and they got it. After several crashes had split the peloton, Van Dijke and seven others saw their chance to break away.
The eight took a 30-second lead over the peloton, led by Team Jumbo-Visma. Olav Kooij had his sights set on victory. However, the young sprinter suffered a puncture on the final cobbled section, and Team Jumbo-Visma gave up the chase.
Van Dijke seized the opportunity, and he started the sprint early. He went off the pedals but still managed to sprint to second place. "On the one hand, it is a very nice result, but on the other hand, I am disappointed not to have won", Van Dijke said.
"I knew I couldn't beat Molano in a sprint, so I had to come up with something. By attacking early, I tried to surprise my fellow escapees. I hoped that Molano would hesitate so that I could win the race. The fact that I finished second is great. I've been training hard the last few weeks and riding at a very high level, but the results weren't there. I am happy to have finished second in one of the tougher races."
"I wasn't allowed to ride because we were playing Olav's card."
Van Dijke was able to "take full advantage" of the situation in the breakaway, with the leader in the group behind him. "I wasn't allowed to ride because we were playing Olav's card. I hoped the gap would not close because I felt I could win. Unfortunately, things went wrong in the final."
Sports director Maarten Wynants said he did everything right. "We'll never know what the result would have been if he hadn't gone off the pedal, but at the end of the day, we shouldn't spend too long in defeat", said Wynants.
Above all, the Belgian saw a strong team in Denain. "The guys rode a great race. Apart from Tim, Loe van Belle rode fantastically. He was in the lead from the twentieth kilometre and finished in the chase group. He showed a lot of potential today."