Tratnik edges out Politt on the Elisabethlaan

Tratnik edges out Politt on the Elisabethlaan

Road  24/02/2024

After an exciting finale, Jan Tratnik edged out Nils Politt on the Elisabethlaan in Ninove. The two rode away after the Bosberg and held off a fast-chasing peloton. In the sprint for third place, Wout van Aert capped off the celebration for Visma | Lease a Bike.

At 11:00, the starting gun resounded in Ghent. The riders set off on their 202 km journey towards Ninove. After just over 10 km, the first flight had already taken place. Nine riders were able to create a gap: Boven (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Gougeard (Cofidis), De Pestel (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team), Moro (Movistar Team), Flynn and Van den Broek (Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL), Maris (Team Flanders - Baloise) and Vermoote (Bingoal WB). Their lead grew to just under 5 minutes, but 130 km from the finish, the peloton began to pick up the pace. What remained was a group of just 23 riders.

On the cobblestones of the Lange Munte, the breakaway was caught by this first part of the peloton. And thus, with almost 115 km to go, the race had broken open early and the two favourites were already at the front. The gap to the chasing pack danced constantly around the minute mark and so there remained some pressure from behind.

On the Wolvenberg, 50 km from the finish, Jorgensen started to shake things up. There then remained a leading group of 7 riders: Van Aert, Laporte and Jorgensen (Visma | Lease a Bike), De Lie (Lotto Dstny), Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers), Skujins (Lidl-Trek) and Moscon (Soudal Quick-Step). For the latter, things became too fast 2 km later on the cobbles of the Jagerij.

On the Molenberg, Skujins stepped up the pace; Jorgensen and Pidcock seemed as though they might have to drop back but just managed to cling on. Then it was on to the third and final passage on Haaghoek - Leberg. There it was De Lie who set the pace and no attacks were launched. That was until Skujins started to shake things up again on the Berendries. Van Aert responded, but had to concede. In the end, it was Jorgensen who managed to collar Skujins again.

(read on below the photo)

With three riders from Visma | Lease a Bike in the leading group, it was a question of taking turns to attack, hoping to wear down Skujins, who clearly had a strong hand. Van Aert tried first, 25 km from the finish, on a descending stretch. 4 km further on, it was Jorgensen’s turn. He succeeded in creating a gap and by the foot of the Muur van Geraardsbergen, he was 20 seconds ahead.

At the foot of the Muur, Wellens (UAE Team Emirates) accelerated away from the peloton to join the chasers. He was the only one who managed to make the crossing. After the Muur, Jorgensen’s lead over the five chasers had halved. At the foot of the Bosberg, the peloton almost caught up with the chasers and Jorgensen’s attack had become history too. With 10 km to go, it seemed that a large group would be descending on Ninove.

Van Aert wanted to keep the tempo high and he pushed on after the Bosberg, but nobody took over. Wellens did take a turn, but that also came to nothing. Next it was Tratnik (Visma | Lease a Bike), who got Politt (UAE Team Emirates) in his sights. Behind the leading duo, a larger peloton formed in which Lotto Dstny and Uno-X Mobility went in full pursuit.

After an exciting finale, we were left with Politt heading for the finishing line on the Elisabethlaan in Ninove with Tratnik close behind. The Slovenian sprinted past him and took the win. In the chasing group, Van Aert provided extra team cheer with his third place.

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