Tiesj Benoot confesses that he had 'nothing left to sprint' against Mathieu van der Poel at Dwars door Vlaanderen

The Belgian sat up before the line to give Van der Poel the win

Tiesj Benoot
(Image credit: Getty)

Tiesj Benoot has admitted that he was out of energy in the finale of Dwars door Vlaanderen and therefore unable to sprint against eventual winner Mathieu van der Poel.

The Jumbo-Visma rider got away with Van der Poel inside the final two kilometres, the duo attacking the leading group of eight as they approached the finishing line in Waregem.

But Benoot, who only joined his team this winter after two seasons at Team DSM, sat up in the final hundred metres, paving the way for Alpecin-Fenix's Van der Poel to win the race for the second time in three editions.

"When I attacked I didn't immediately see someone sitting on my wheel," Benoot said afterwards. 

"But a little later I saw Mathieu riding close to it very easily. I continued riding to go for a place on the podium. 

"In the sprint there was nothing left, but I am of course happy that I was able to show myself."

Benoot finished ninth at the recent E3 Saxo Bank Classic, but Wednesday's result was his best ever in a cobbled Classic, surpassing the fifth place he earned at the 2015 Tour of Flanders.

Dwars was a highly active race that sprung into life two hours before the racing ended, with Benoot admitting that he didn't anticipate the racing to be full-on so far out.

>>> Can Mathieu van der Poel beat Wout van Aert at Tour of Flanders? Dutchman says he'll need to get better

"I rode a good race and I grabbed my chance," he said. "When Alpecin-Fenix started at 90km from the end, I was a bit surprised, but after that I was always in good shape."

Fellow escapee Victor Campenaerts of Lotto-Soudal tried his luck several times, at one point building an advantage of around six seconds.

Benoot reflected: "When Victor went I knew I had to go and he repeated that a few times. 

>>> Tadej Pogačar struggled to keep pace at Dwars door Vlaanderen: 'They were too strong in the front, too fast'

"Fortunately I was strong enough to close the break together with the other escapees. I did everything I could to go alone, but unfortunately it didn't work out. Nevertheless, this result is good for confidence.”

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.