🎥 Van Poppel shocked by "aggressive" Démare: "And then he actually pushed me..." Cycling

🎥 Van Poppel shocked by "aggressive" Démare: "And then he actually pushed me..."

🎥 Van Poppel shocked by "aggressive" Démare: "And then he actually pushed me..."

He keeps saying that sprinting is not really his thing anymore, but still, on Wednesday, Danny van Poppel (BORA-hansgrohe) found himself on the podium at the Classic Brugge-De Panne, a race known for its sprint finishes. Teammate Sam Welsford - and also Jordi Meeus - were not in contention in the final part, which meant that the Dutchman had to save the day for the Germans after a hectic final phase. He shared his experience with IDLProCycling.com in De Panne.

BORA-hansgrohe started with Welsford and Meeus, but in the end, it was Van Poppel who took to the podium alongside Jasper Philipsen and Tim Merlier. So what exactly were the team's tactics? "The plan was to go for Sam and that I would be his last man. If we could put him on my wheel, he is one of the fastest here. If not the fastest, he certainly doesn't have to back down from those other two guys. We just really believe in him."

However, the execution was less than ideal, as Welsford was not in position when it mattered. "It was super hectic and Sam wasn't on my wheel. And then I heard in my earpiece that I had to follow. The guys had been leading all day, and then you have to do your best, so I think you can't just give up."

For Van Poppel himself, the final stretch was full of chaos. Ten kilometers from the finish in De Panne, the Dutchman suddenly found himself on the grass next to the road and had to fight his way back into the peloton. "Arnaud Démare pushed me onto the grass very aggressively, and then you have to be mentally strong to come back from that. Démare was not my friend, let's just leave it at that. But in the end, everyone goes through all sorts of things, and it's part of racing, but I got the final laugh," says the third-place finisher.

Yet, it was crucial to keep his head cool at that moment, Van Poppel admits. "I thought for a moment that I was going to end up in the ditch, but luckily I kept my bike upright. When I came back, I let him know that I was back. I said 'I'm back,' and then he pushed me again... That is when I knew for sure that he was targeting me. However, I eventually finished third, and that's what matters most."

Continue reading below the video.

Van Poppel eager to enter upcoming period with Welsford

So, what is the overall feeling? "It's such a hectic race here, and I just know I'm very good at positioning, so now I ended up in third place. For a moment, I thought I might win, but those two world-class riders beat me," indicates Van Poppel, who also doesn't anticipate any problems within the team. "We are open and honest, and I was told to go for it, so then I do my best. Even if it's a tenth place, that's fine too."

What's next for Van Poppel? "Gent-Wevelgem and Dwars door Vlaanderen. I'm not doing the Tour of Flanders, but I will go to the Tour of Turkey and the Giro. I'm looking forward to it because I really enjoy being with the team and with Sam. We haven’t seen the last of him, I'm sure of that. He's only been cycling at the WorldTour level for two years, but when you see him... He's pure muscle. I enjoy teaching him the sprinting trade because I have a lot of experience and he doesn’t yet. Together, we can still make some great things happen," he concludes eagerly.

Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments

More Cycling News