In Belgium, the period is known as "Holy Week"; these few days, from the end of March to the beginning of April, when Flanders hosts its series of classics or semi-classics, the most prestigious one-day cycling races. This name, Christophe Laporte will probably not deny it. On Wednesday March 29, the Frenchman from Jumbo-Visma won at the end of Through Flanders. A success gleaned just three days after raising his arms on another Flanders meeting: Ghent-Wevelgem.
This time, the rider did not cross the line arm in arm with his teammate Wout van Aert – the Belgian had left him the victory on Sunday and was not at the start on Wednesday. Coming out 4 kilometers from the finish, Christophe Laporte won alone, beating his runner-up of the day, the Spaniard Oier Lazkano (Movistar) by 15 seconds. The American Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) completes the podium.
“Such a double is difficult to achieve, testified the Varois at the end of the race. This is proof that the condition is good. I trained well after falling ill [before Paris-Nice in early March]. I have a lot of freshness. »
Second in 2021
The three big favorites for the Tour of Flanders scheduled for Sunday April 2 – Wout van Aert, the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) and the Dutchman Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) – left to rest, the 183.7 kilometer race, with eleven ribs and eight cobblestone sectors, has been unbridled.
The last elements of a five-rider breakaway were only caught some 10 kilometers from the finish by a group of eight which included, in addition to Christophe Laporte, his compatriot Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), but not Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quick Step). The 30-year-old, who had already tasted the podium, in 2021 (2nd), succeeds Mathieu Van der Poel on the winners of this race, which had so far only succeeded in one Frenchman, Sylvain Chavanel, in 2008.
Christophe Laporte, who joined the Jumbo-Visma team in 2022, signs the 28th victory of his career. On Sunday, he had already become the fourth tricolor to put his name on the Ghent-Wevelgem list (after Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault and Philippe Gaumont).
The Dutch team got their hands on the Flanders spring by winning the five preparatory races for the Tour of Flanders: Het Nieuwsblad (with Dylan van Baarle), Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne (Tiesj Benoot), the E3 Classic (Wout van Aert).
The Frenchman can also dream of a hat-trick on Sunday. Although this time he should run for Wout van Aert. “The two most beautiful races are coming now [the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, April 9]. We will try to stay the course, it will not be easy. There are three men who are above the lot: Mathieu, Wout and Tadej. We will have to seize the opportunities to try to accompany them,” concluded the winner of the day.