• Zdenek Stybar of Deceuninck - Quick-Step celebrates after winning the E3 BinckBank Classic (AFP)Source: AFP
Zdenek Stybar continued Deceuninck-QuickStep's dominance of the cobbled classics, winning a five-man sprint at the end of the 204 kilometre Belgian classic.
By
SBS Cycling Central

30 Mar 2019 - 8:06 AM  UPDATED 30 Mar 2019 - 8:07 AM

Stybar proved the freshest of the final five men present at the finish after being able to sit on the other riders for the majority of the race after his teammate Bob Jungels had attacked with 60 kilometres remaining in the race, sweeping up the remnants of the early breakaway.

A quartet of Stybar, Greg van Avermaet (CCC), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Alberto Bettiol made contact with Jungels with seven kilometres remaining in the race. Jungels and Stybar attempted to 1-2 their opposition to get away before the finale, but it came down to a sprint, which Stybar took ahead of van Aert and van Avermaet.

“I’m incredibly happy," said Stybar. "Winning Harelbeke after Omloop is amazing, but I couldn’t have done it without this extraordinary team.

'We have such a great squad, all our riders can win a race and that’s one of the things that make the difference in our favour. Bob was instrumental in my victory, I couldn’t have done it without him, so I want to thank him for his enormous help.”

The pair of Deceuninck-QuickStep riders were able to use their numbers effectively in the finale and extend the Belgian team's formidable 2019 season to yet another classics win with Stybar taking his second big victory of the season after also winning Omloop het Nieuwsblad.

“I told Bob to just go if he felt good and you could see him put down the hammer, applying quite a bit of pressure on the peloton and allowing us to save some energy. Having him at the front was an ideal situation for me as I just had to cover the attacks on the important climbs.”

“When Bob got caught, I asked him how he was feeling and told him that he should try again if he still had anything left in the tank, so he took off the front again and made the others chase. Then I accelerated and rode flat out, hoping to hurt the other riders, especially as I still had plenty of energy left in the legs for a sprint.

"It ended up perfectly for us and this makes up very happy. We’re riding on a wave, know what we have to do and we will keep enjoying the coming races.”