Wout van Aert has said that there was no debate over who took the win at the end of the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, as he was victorious ahead of his teammate Christophe Laporte.
The pair had time to sit up and enjoy their efforts in the final 200m, with Laporte gifting his Belgian teammate the win.
It was reminiscent of the Frenchman's win on stage one of Paris-Nice a fortnight ago, when he was given the victory in front of his home fans by Van Aert and Primož Roglič.
Speaking straight after his win, Van Aert said: "There was not a discussion at all. There are a lot of races to go, and we will definitely end up in more difficult situations with a lot of guys around us.
"Sooner or later Christophe or someone else will get his chance. This is how we want to race, and this is the way everybody believes we have the biggest chance of winning."
It was his eighth top-three finish of the season, in just eleven races, and his third victory. Despite this, Van Aert argued: "Bike racing is really hard."
Laporte said that it was "incredible" to have a moment like he did at the end of the race, and that he was on the limit following his teammate.
"The team did a lot of amazing work today," he said. "We lost Tosh van der Sande at the start, which was really unfortunate for him. We had a lot of numbers at the front when it mattered, and we knew that the Paterberg was a really important part of the race…
"I was really on the limit on the climb that followed but I managed to hold on. It’s really incredible to have a moment like that with your teammate out front. I think Wout van Aert was easily the strongest today, definitely stronger than me."
His Jumbo-Visma team put on an exhibition, despite losing Tosh van der Sande in an early crash. As well as first and second, they had two more riders, Tiesj Benoot and Mike Teunissen, in the top-13. Van Aert said that the team's goal was to be "defensive" until the race split apart, at which time they could pounce.
"The team was impressive," he said. "I have to thank every single one of them for setting us up in the final. Big thank you to Christophe for giving me this victory, it means so much, and I’m really proud of my team.
"Bike racing is really hard. It’s one of the hardest races of the spring. I learned that our team is really on top of it. Really unfortunate that we lost Tosh in the beginning of the race, I hope his injuries at work. We stuck to the plan we had and every single one os us was impressive."
Next, the Belgian will target Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, one week ahead of the big target, the Tour of Flanders on 3 April. His whole season to date has been built around this race, and Paris-Roubaix a fortnight after that.
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