Caleb Ewan took the Scheldeprijs 2020 ahead of Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Niccolò Bonifazio (Total Direct Energie) in a very hectic finale that saw several riders crash, and eventually saw Ackermann disqualified for a dangerous sprint. That decision meant Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept) took the third place position.
Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) sprinted to a very convincing victory after a very calm day on the laps around the town of Schoten. The sprint was packed with big names though and a big crash brought down some fighting for the top placings after a sharp movement by Ackermann took the wheel of a rider just behind him out.
This is Ewan’s first race win since his successes at the Tour de France. Behind him, other Tour riders didn’t perform as well as they would’ve liked, with points jersey winner, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), coming down in ninth.
How it happened
The race was based around a 173.3km course that was made up of a 17km circuit in Schoten as local lockdowns meant the race was not able to do its usual course heading into the Netherlands.
The day’s break was made up of Mark Cavendish (Bahrain-McLaren), Lewis Askey (Groupama-FDJ), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana), Michael Schär (CCC Team), Travis McCabe (Israel Start-Up Nation), Chris Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton-Scott), Tom Wirtgen (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles), and Piotr Havik (Riwal-Securitas).
The route was very flat but it had the usual stressful course in Belgium with tight roads, road furniture, falling leaves and a very compact peloton with a packed field of potential winners.
The cameras largely fell on Cavendish as he was back on the bike despite his tearful interview where he said Ghent-Wevelgem may have been his last race.
But ‘Cav’ spent the day in the break but dropped back much earlier than the rest up front where he got plenty of congratulations from fans, motorbikes, and riders with him looking around asking for the camera to leave him alone.
Back in the peloton it was a group of teams working but UAE Team Emirates, Lotto-Soudal, Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe were doing most of the work for their main men.
The break was brought back with 19km to go apart from Havik who had kicked on, the Dutchman held on until 11km to go where Deceuninck – Quick-Step took full control of the race until 2km to go as Trek-Segafredo, Bora-Hansgrohe, Lotto-Soudal, and Alpecin-Fenix moved up to challenged the Belgian team.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step were then boxed out and it was Lotto-Soudal who lead the lead-out at the vital moment, allowing Ewan a clear sprint to the line, winning the race comfortably.
Ackermann was later disqualified for causing the crash moving Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept p/b KTM) up onto the podium.
Scheldeprijs 2020: Schoten to Schoten (173.3km)
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal, in 3-34-38
2. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept p/b KTM
4. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
5. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
6. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Arvid De Kleijn (Ned) Riwal Securitas
8. Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Itamar Einhorn (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation
10. Romain Cardis (Fra) Total Direct Energie, all at same time
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