3/6/2013 12:00:00 AM - TEAM NEWS!
Napolitano wins bunch sprint in West-Vlaanderen
Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen 2013
Vandewalle keeps race lead in crash-filled finale
Italian Danilo Napolitano proved himself to be a worthy addition to the local Accent Jobs-Wanty team by winning the bunch sprint on stage 1 of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen. The Sicilian beat up-and-comer Tom Van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Barry Markus (Vacansoleil-DCM) in a fast, chaotic sprint to the line in Harelbeke.
The overall race lead remained in the hands of Omega Pharma's Kristof Vandewalle, who leads by 8 seconds over Tiago Machado (RadioShack-Leopard) with his own teammate Niki Terpstra in third a further second behind.
The finale was marred by several crashes, one large one just outside the 3km mark which included Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Gerald Ciolek and two of his MTN-Qhubeka teammates. Another fall inside the protected section kept Sébastien Chavanel and Tony Hurel (Europcar) from losing time.
The stage was likely the best chance for Mark Cavendish to deliver a win for his Omega Pharma team, but the crash of Steegmans disrupted the lead-out.
"They were organized for the sprint, but there was a crash inside the final 5km and it involved Gert Steegmans," said directeur sportif Tom Steels. "It was also really dangerous as there was a lot of tailwind, making it a hectic and high speed sprint. Cavendish tried, but not 100 percent as it was a bit too risky."
The day belonged to Accent Jobs, however. The team put James Vanlandschoot in the breakaway with Christophe Pfingsten (Cyclingteam de Rijke) and Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen). The trio stayed away for 158km, sharing the intermediate sprints along the way before being swept up by the peloton.
The breakaway meant that Vandewalle kept not only the overall lead but also the sprint jersey, although Napolitano came even on points with his win. Swede Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos-Shimano) is the race's best young rider.
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