Ewan faster than Bonifazio and Coquard
The 108th edition of the Scheldeprijs ended with a powerful sprint to the finish. The teams of the top sprinters controlled the race almost perfectly. In that predicted sprint it was the Australian Caleb Ewan who won.
Now that a start in Terneuzen was not possible in the 108th edition of the Scheldeprijs, Schoten became the central point for the oldest Flemish spring classic on the calendar. 10 local laps of 17.3 km. At the start there were many fast men for what is called the unofficial World Championships for sprinters. Ewan, Bennett and Ackermann, among others, competed against each other.
Already in the second lap there was an early breakaway, despite the extremely fast pace in the race. 8 riders escaped: Wirtgen (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Schär (CCC Team), Gruzdev (Astana Pro Team), Cavendish (Bahrain - McLaren), Havik (Riwal Securitas Cycling Team), McCabe (Israel Start-Up Nation), Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton-Scott) and Askey (Groupama-FDJ). After the first race, no less than 49 km had been digested.
The breakaway never managed to get a big lead on the circuit in Schoten. The peloton allowed them to ride about 1'25" ahead, but always kept them in sight. With two laps to go Cavendish dropped out of the front group. In the meantime the peloton got closer to the leading group, which still had a 30 second lead.
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At the start of the final lap the difference was still about 17 seconds. At the front Askey tried to add a solo escape to his day in the break. The Dutchman Havik joined him, attacked himself and went off on his own. In the peloton it was Deceunick-Quick-Step and Trek-Segafredo who took control.
At 8 km from the finish the story of Havik and the chasing group was over. The peloton controlled the race perfectly and was able to start preparing for the sprint. The trains formed for the sprinters at Deceuninck - Quick-Step, Trek-Segafredo, UAE Team Emirates, Lotto-Soudal and Bora-hansgrohe.
In the last kilometre it was Alpecin-Fenix that brought Merlier to the front and Kristoff was going to prepare the sprint for Jasper Philipsen. Out of Kristoff's wheel, Ewan suddenly came to the front. He sprinted convincingly to victory before Ackermann and Bonifazio. The number two, Ackermann, would eventually be degraded for deviating from his line, resulting in a crash of Jensen, causing Bonifazio to move up a place and Coquard to take third.
This 108th Scheldeprijs was without a doubt a unique autumn edition. Also for Caleb Ewan, who was able to hit the jackpot after his first participation in the Scheldeprijs.