After a brilliant and consistent display at 4 Days of Dunkirk, Dion Smith emerged with 5th overall as Bryan Coquard took the general classification after three consecutive stage wins earlier in the race. The final stage went to Kenny Dehaes of Wanty-Groupe Gobert ahead of Coquard and Ariel Richeze.
Stage 5 of 4 Days of Dunkirk took the field from Hondschoote to Dunkerque, a trek of 159.7km and the stage was well and truly primed for a sprint finish, with a 10-lap circuit in Dunkerque that was pancake flat. Going into the stage Bryan Coquard may have wrapped up the overall standings, with a 24 second lead over Marco Frapporti of Andoni Giocattoli-Sidermec; but behind him there was much to play for. Frapport and stage 4 winner Xandro Meurisse of Crelan-Vastgoedservice were separated by just a second, and Dion Smith and Pierrick Fedrigo of Fortuneo-Vital Concept were in a battle for fourth; with both riders at 36 seconds, with Deilo Fernandez of Delko Marseillve Provence KTM and Damien Gaudin of AG2R La Mondiale at 39 seconds.
At the first intermediate sprint Dion Smith challenged for the bonus seconds but Fedrigo beat him to it, meaning the pair swapped positions. After that a break managed to escape, with 5 riders moving up the road while Cofidis took control of the peloton. For ONE Pro Cycling and Dion Smith it was all about keeping close enough to the front to be able to marshal any potential GC threats and potentially to be able to challenge for the stage win.
The break of five were caught with 10km remaining, but the attacks weren’t done as another rider from Crelan-Vastgoedservice attacked. But again the bunch were having none of that and with 2.5km remaining the sprint was all prepared.
For the second time in two days though Bryan Coquard – the star of the first three days – had to settle for second as Kenny Dehaes denied him the win. Etixx-Quick Step, who have been there or thereabouts throughout the five days took third with Richeze, while Nacer Bouhanni of Cofidis took fourth ahead of Raymond Kreder of Roompot-Oranje Peloton.
The second place for Coquard sealed the overall win ahead of Marco Frapporti and Xandro Meurisse, while finishing in the main bunch was good enough for Smith to hold onto fifth overall behind Delio Fernandez. Smith’s fifth place overall is the best result in a UCI 2.HC stage race that ONE Pro Cycling have ever achieved. He also finished third in the best young rider’s classification.
|1||Kenny DE HAES||BEL||WGG||3:31:08|
|3||Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE||ARG||EQS||+0|
|10||Bert VAN LERBERGHE||BEL||TSV||+0|
Final general classification:
|6||Delio FERNANDEZ CRUZ||ESP||DMP||+45|
|9||Rasmus Christian QUAADE||DEN||SSG||+53|