Held annually since 2001 and elevated to 1.1 status on the UCI calendar in 2016, Dwars door het Hageland is one of the most exciting non-World Tour one-day races of the season, its combination of cobbles and short climbs providing plenty of spectacle each year.

Sénéchal takes hard-fought podium in Hageland

Cobbles, unsurfaced roads, sharp hills and narrow roads – the ingredients of Saturday’s Dwars door Het Hageland, which ran its 19th edition, one that didn’t give a moment of respite to the peloton. Victorious here in 2016, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl came at the start with ambitions, but with 30 kilometers to go things didn’t look good for our team, after both Yves Lampaert and Florian Sénéchal punctured in the space of just five kilometers just as the peloton was ramping up the pace behind the last survivors of the breakaway.

It took a quick change from the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl mechanics and a huge effort of the two to make their way back in the bunch, which at that point was trailing a newly-formed four-man group that was threatening to put a minute between them and the field. Pieter Serry and Lampaert soon took the front of the group, setting a ferocious tempo, which resulted in the quartet being brought back ten kilometers from the finish.

Moments after the catch was made, another rider zipped away and somehow, despite a coalition of teams behind him, managed to stay clear and take the victory. Florian, fourth at Dwars door Hageland in 2020, accelerated from the peloton on the scenic hill leading to the Diest Citadel and despite another flat tire, he managed to finish third, just a handful of seconds behind Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix), the day’s winner.

“It wasn’t easy today. The legs were good, but luck wasn’t on our side, as I had three punctures. We did a good race, but due to bad luck we couldn’t control it as we wanted to. Coming back required a lot of energy, which I missed on the last climb. Even in these conditions, I am happy, because I can feel the form is there after our training camp, and this gives me confidence for the next races”, said Sénéchal, who was joined in the top 5 by teammate Stan Van Tricht, who thus took his best result since turning pro with the Wolfpack.

 

Photo credit: ©Wout Beel

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