Preview: Scheldeprijs 2024 – Will Jasper Philipsen complete a hat trick?

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Tuesday, April 2, 2024 at 7:45 AM

In an era in which competitions have to be increasingly spectacular and tough, the Scheldeprijs traditionally maintains its flat profile. In between the tough work of Dwars door Vlaanderen, the Tour of Flanders and the Brabantse Pijl, the fast men also get their chance in what is sometimes called the world championship for sprinters. Who will be Jasper Philipsen’s successor? CyclingFlits looks ahead.

History

Last ten winners of the Scheldeprijs
2023: Jasper Philipsen
2022: Alexander Kristoff
2021: flag-be Jasper Philipsen
2020: flag-au Caleb Ewan
2019: flag-nl Fabio Jakobsen
2018: flag-nl Fabio Jakobsen
2017: flag-de Marcel Kittel
2016: flag-de Marcel Kittel
2015: flag no Alexander Kristoff
2014: flag-de Marcel Kittel


Latest edition

Result Scheldeprijs 2023
1. flag-be Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck)
2. flag-au Sam Welsford (Team DSM) all in st
3. flag-gb Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan)
4. flag-nl Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AlUla)
5. flag-be Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Wanty)


Trail

For the seventh time in history, the Scheldeprijs is a guest in Terneuzen, the Netherlands – not far from the Belgian border. The festivities will take place on Stadhuisplein, after which the riders will ride through the Westerschelde tunnel towards the Ellewoutsdijk on Zuid-Beveland. The wind is given free rein here, as is so often the case in Zeeland. So you almost immediately have to watch out for fan formation in the peloton.

The exciting passage through Zeeland has been slightly adjusted since last year, compared to the previous editions of the Scheldeprijs. For example, the riders no longer ride along the Veerse Gatdam, the Deltaweg in Goes or the Havendijk in Yerseke, where in the past the wind could play a prominent role. However, there are plenty of options for fans when it rains and there is a lot of wind.

After the passage through ‘s-Heerenhoek (the hometown of cycling legend Jan Raas) and Heinkenszand, it goes almost all the time along roads around the A58 towards the east. Kapelle, Reimerswaal and Woensdrecht – with the cycling municipality of Hoogerheide as a sub-municipality – also receive their share of the Scheldt Prize, but the danger of blowing out should be fairly limited here.

After a 74 kilometer race, the riders reach the Belgian border in Essen, Antwerp. North of the port of Antwerp it goes via Kalmthout, Wuustwezel, Loenhout, Brecht and Schilde towards the local circuit in Schoten, which has been restored to its former glory at 16.9 kilometers. Part one goes through winding alleys around the center of Schoten. For part two of the circuit, the wide roads of Wijnegem, Schilde and Schoten are used.

In that local circuit, the 1,700 meter long passage over (very flat, well laid out) cobblestones is also a fact. It is there that the peloton is usually drawn on a ribbon, followed by a passage along the Albert Canal 6.5 kilometers from the finish. There the wind has free rein again, before it heads towards the center of Schoten.

As usual, the finish line is on Churchilllaan in Schoten, a road more than six meters wide. We will no longer see a detour along the Borkelstraat in the final kilometer, as in 2022. The last straight line is again a good one and a half kilometers long, except for the gentle bend about three hundred meters from the finish in Schoten. The local lap must be completed four times, for a total of 205 kilometers.

Wednesday April 3, 2024: Terneuzen – Schoten (205.3 km)
Start: 13.00
Finish: between 5:15 PM and 5:40 PM


Favorites

It takes some getting used to after those tough Flemish races, but here we mainly place fast men among the favorites. The field of participants may not be as strong as the WorldTour classics, but the organization still managed to convince eleven WorldTeams to come to Terneuzen. Supplemented by nine ProTeams and the continental teams Tarteletto-Isorex and BEAT, we will have a great battle.

Philipsen versus Merlier – photo: Cor Vos

Actually had Jasper Philipsen shouldn’t be at the start here at all. The in-form Limburg man initially opted for the combination of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, a diptych in which his beloved Scheldeprijs had no place. But last week, that surprisingly changed. The performance staff of Alpecin-Deceuninck decided to change the program of the winner of Milan-San Remo as a last resort, causing the Tour to be cancelled. And as Philipsen himself admitted in front of our camera last week: those difficult cobblestone slopes don’t suit him too well anyway.

Then the fan danger of the Scheldeprijs is more his thing. Philipsen is not often surprised in that situation, and if there is a sprint afterwards, you cannot ignore him. In the Classic Brugge-De Panne we already had a direct confrontation between Philipsen and its biggest competitor, Tim Merlier. The value relationships became quite clear. Philipsen and Merlier were in trouble, but the former clearly had the fastest legs.

At Soudal Quick-Step, Merlier is perhaps the biggest guarantee of a great victory in a Flemish spring classic. Merlier mainly relies on his long sprint, which he ideally starts from about three hundred meters from the finish. Then you have to be called Philipsen to get over that. The only disadvantage at Merlier: while Philipsen has always been present in recent editions and already knows the final like the back of his hand, the two-time Belgian champion only won his only Scheldeprijs last year.

Groenewegen in Valencia – photo: Cor Vos

The Dutch side is also looking forward to a number of fast men with substance. In the first place Dylan Groenewegen, the big man at Jayco AlUla for the sprints. Although he is still waiting for his second victory of the season, Groenewegen is doing more than decently in the Flemish races. In any case, a ninth place in Gent-Wevelgem and a second in the Bredene Koksijde Classic prove that he has not yet lost his lightning-fast legs. Only at times a little bit of luck is missing, and perhaps also a sense of timing.

Countryman Arvid de Kleijn then again oozes with self-confidence. In his surprising victory in Paris-Nice, the Tudor rider was also too fast, among others, Groenewegen. The first award of the project that ProTeam Tudor is building around him “The plan has first taken shape within the team since last year,” De Kleijn explained to us a while ago. “Especially because Michael Zijlaard, Rick Pluimers and Sebastian Changizi now form a team around me and really provide stability. The four of us want to take those steps. There is really something going on, a kind of sprint project. It’s great that it is now paying off.”

You can also use the demolition of Casper van Uden do not forget. In the first sprints of the year, the 22-year-old talent from Team dsm-firmenich PostNl seemed to become the rider who could threaten Tim Merlier in the AlUla Tour. That even gave him a stage victory, but once back on European soil, the final breakthrough took a while to come. Especially because first sprinter Fabio Jakobsen – absent here – also had to get his chances regularly and therefore alternated as leader.

Gerben Thijssen wins the first stage of the Volta ao Algarve – photo: Cor Vos

In terms of speed, it has to be Gerben Thijssen probably won’t beat men like Philipsen and Merlier. Only in terms of palmares does the strong sprinter from Intermarché-Wanty still have work to do. A victory in a semi-classic like the Scheldeprijs would be the step forward in that area that he is aiming for and that he deserves. By Sam Welsford (BORA-hansgrohe) you can say the same, but the Australian already showed himself to be dominant in the Tour Down Under at the beginning of this season. Now he returns to the course where he had his breakthrough.

In addition, the list of riders who have a good sprint is quite long. However, they must be able to survive the fan danger. Then we think of names like Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Emirates), Hugo Hofstetter (Israel-Premier Tech), Luca Mozzato (Arkéa-B&B Hotels), Stanislaw Aniolkowski (Cofidis), Edward Theuns (Lidl-Trek), Cees Bol (Astana Qazaqtan), Søren Wærenskjold (Uno-X Mobility) and Timothy Dupont (Tarteletto-Isorex).


Favorites according to WielerFlits
**** Jasper Philipsen
*** Tim Merlier, Dylan Groenewegen
** Gerben Thijssen, Arvid de Kleijn, Sam Welsford
* Casper van Uden, Juan Sebastian Molano, Søren Wærenskjold, Luca Mozzato

Website organization


Weather and TV

The bad weather could have a profound effect on the Scheldt price. The riders get rain all day long, and during the passage through the Netherlands the wind blows at 5 Beaufort, from the southwest. Enough ingredients for an interesting Scheldeprijs.

Sporza on An starts at 2.45 pm with the live broadcast of the men. Eurosport 2 and Eurosport.nl/Discovery+ pick up fifteen minutes later, from 3 p.m.


The article is in Dutch

Tags: Preview Scheldeprijs Jasper Philipsen complete hat trick

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