Philipsen upsets Bennett to claim Scheldeprijs

Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) made the most of a fine leadout by his teammates to secure the win at Scheldeprijs, upsetting the favourite Sam Bennett, who finished second with Deceuninck-QuickStep teammate Mark Cavendish third.

109th Scheldeprijs 2021 - Men's Elite

Jasper Philipsen of Alpecin Fenix wins the 109th Scheldeprijs. Source: Getty / Getty Images

Philipsen was well back in the reduced bunch that contested the finish, but a late surge from his sprint train put him well into contention as he launched his sprint from in front. 

Bennett had been sitting pretty at the front with the Deceuninck-Quickstep machine having controlled the final kilometres, but he was maybe a bike length off where he needed to be on the final bend and had to make up too much ground on a rapid Philipsen. 

Cavendish had been sweeping Bennett's wheel and came home for third, but no doubt there will be an examination of whether he might have been better utilised leading Bennett out to take the race win, rather than filling out the podium. None of that mattered to Philipsen, who took his first win of the 2021 season.

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"I'm really proud of this win. It means a lot to me," said Philipsen. "The team has been doing really well and was amazing today. I was confident in my sprint, and Jonas Rickaert and Dries De Bondt did an incredible job in the final kilometres."

“There were a lot of good sprinters here at the start, so to win this race is really nice. There was a high level of sprinters at the finish line who I beat now, so that gives me confidence for the next races.”



The race had split up dramatically in the early sections of the race around the notoriously windy Zeeland region of the Netherlands. 

After the early splits came back together there was a much larger split that occurred after a nasty crash in the peloton with just 55 kilometres of the 193-kilometre race covered. 

Initially, it was a group of 13 away, but a second chasing group joined to make it a 32-strong group out front and that was the group that would come to the finish, minus a few who crashed or drifted back to chasing groups on the road.

There was a large group chasing to try and get back in contention for the sprint but the combined efforts of Florian Senechal (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Marcus Burghardt (BORA-hansgrohe) kept the chasers at bay.

AG2R-Citroen took up the pace-making as the race entered the final kilometres, but they were overtaken by the QuickStep train. However, when van Leberghe peeled off from the front and left Michael Mørkøv to pilot the remaining 700 metres of the race, the slight drop in pace allowed Alpecin-Fenix to come from behind with a surge from Belgian champion Dries de Bondt and then Jonas Rickaert meaning that Philipsen had the best line through the final bend and that Bennett would have to come around Rickaert to launch his sprint.

Philipsen and Bennett's sprint gapped Cavendish, but the British star sprinter was able to hang on for third.


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3 min read
Published 8 April 2021 at 10:59am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS