Dubai: Young Jasper Philipsen promised a better show after drawing first blood for the UAE Team Emirates on the opening stage of the BinckBank Tour (WT) in Belgium, late on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old UAE Team Emirates rider utilised a perfectly timed sprint to deny Pascal Ackermann right at the last on stage one that witnessed a huge crash which took out nearly half the bunch 3 km from the line. But it was Philipsen all the way after that as he showed a quick turn of speed and great skill to navigate his way to victory and hand his team their 30th win of the 2020 season.
The relatively short opener over 132.1 km from Blankenberge to Ardooie sprung to life in the closing kilometres as narrow roads and high speeds saw the bunch string out and caused numerous crashes. The most prominent spill came with 3.3km to go and took down over 20 riders including two from the UAE team.
However, neither were seriously injured with Alessandro Covi only suffering some minor abrasions. And in the closing metres Philipsen weaved his way to the front in the tight sprint to get his second win of the season, and the fourth of his career so far.
“It was quite a straightforward day in the beginning. With just two riders in the breakaway, the peloton was confident that it was going to end in a bunch sprint. It was quite hectic in the end as everybody was still fresh so there were a few crashes on the run-in,” Philipsen said.
“I managed to stay out of trouble and had the legs to win. For me it’s the nicest win of my career so far and I’m super happy,” he added.
Former world champion Mads Pedersen of Trek-Segafredo took second place as Ackermann slipped back to third.
Philipsen will wear the yellow jersey heading into the Stage 2 Individual Time Trial on Wednesday which starts and finishes in Vlissingen over 10.9 kms.
Stage 1 Results: 1. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) 2:59.56; 2. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) s.t.; Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) s.t.
General Classification (After Stage 1): 1. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) 2:59.16; 2. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) +4; 3. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) +5.