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Published on 03-29-2024

Positive results for the Team on the Belgian classics

The day before yesterday, the Team headed to Dwars door Vlaanderen, which marked the final act of a series of three Belgian classics contested in one week, after the Classic Brugge-De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem. These three races provided an opportunity for the Team to continue its rise to power, with several positive results on the World Tour level.

On Wednesday 20th, the Belgian adventure began in Bruges. With a very flat course and no major difficulties, the Classic Brugge-De Panne looked set to be a sprinters’ race. But Thomas Gachignard didn’t see it that way, and in the very first hectometres, he and two other riders formed a breakaway. This leading group had an advantage of up to 8 minutes, but the gap melted away in the final third of the race. With only a slender lead left with 20km to go, Thomas dropped his breakaway companions and tried his luck solo. Finally caught 10 km later, our 23-year-old rider had a great day at the front. Towards the finish, Jason Tesson and Emilien Jeannière did a great job of positioning themselves and produced an excellent sprint. In great form, Jason finished at the foot of the podium after a hard day’s work, competing with the favourites until the final pedal strokes. Emilien was close behind, taking the 9th position. Rewarded for his abnegation throughout the day, Thomas Gachignard stepped onto the podium at the end of the day and won the combativity prize.

DE PANNE, BELGIUM – MARCH 20: Thomas Gachignard of France and Team TotalEnergies celebrates at podium during the 48th Classic Brugge-De Panne 2024 – Men’s Elite a 198.9km one day race from Brugge to De Panne / #UCIWT / on March 20, 2024 in De Panne, Belgium. (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

The following Saturday, our riders go to Gent-Wevelgem. In addition to several climbs up to the summit of Mont Kemmel and a number of cobbled sections, the wind was out in force for this 86th edition. In a race that was uncertain at first, with lots of movement, a leading group finally took shape and managed to get ahead of a peloton of around forty men that included Anthony Turgis, Dries Van Gestel, Sandy Dujardin and Thomas Gachignard. As the finish approached, Anthony tried to break away from the peloton and managed to join an intermediate group. However, this group was caught again and the peloton fought out a sprint for 3rd place, with Mads Pedersen and Mathieu Van der Poel battling for victory at the front. Unfortunately, Anthony suffered a mechanical problem at the worst possible moment, preventing the team from competing under the best possible conditions. On the finish line, it was Sandy Dujardin who achieved the team’s best result with a 24th position.

To round off this Belgian classics series, the Team heads to Roeselare for Dwars door Vlaanderen. With 10 cobbled sectors and 11 climbs on the menu, the third classic within 7 days promises to be even tougher than the previous ones. As at the start of the week, Thomas Gachignard was part of the breakaway and spent most of the day at the front. This time, our rider was not caught by the peloton and finished in the top 10 after a great effort. For the second time in a few days, Thomas showed ambition and determination at the front.

With three top-10 finishes in some of Belgium’s most famous classics, the team was up to the task. Often in the breakaways and enterprising, our riders rose to the occasion and put in more than convincing performances ahead of the rest of the season.