In the gap between the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix is Wednesday’s Scheldeprijs. It’s become known as the sprinter’s classic in recent years and the modern winner’s list rather backs this up.
Marcel Kittel has won it 5 times and when he’s not won it Mark Cavendish (3 times), Tom Boonen (2 times), Alexander Kristoff, Tyler Farrar and Alessandro Petacchi have all won. In fact you have to go back to 2005 and Thorwald Veneberg’s surprise victory to find a non-bunch sprint finish.
Looking at the 2019 profile for Scheldeprijs below you can see why – there’s the odd stretch of cobbled roads but the lack of any real hills makes the parcours a relatively simple one. The last km gives a slight downhill finish after rising a crest which will give the sprinters plenty of speed to work with.
Scheldeprijs 2019 Profile
Scheldeprijs 2019 Contenders
Marcel Kittel is a 5 time winner of Scheldeprijs but his form is so so iffy. He won the Trofeo Palma in the pre-season but since a 3rd place in the UAE Tour in February, his best result is 30th. On his day he’s a world-beater but it’s impossible to tell how he’ll fare in 2019. Last year’s winner was Fabio Jakobsen. Only 22 years old, he announced himself in 2018 by winning Scheldeprijs and Nokere Koerse. So far in 2019 he’s won a stage of the Volta ao Algarve and finished 3rd on two stages of Paris-Nice. So far anonymous in the Belgian Spring classics, this race could be where he turns that around.
Pascal Ackermann is my favourite for this race. Recently he won the Bredene Koksijde Classic which was pan-flat and basically a sprint-off, pretty similar to this race. He also finished 2nd in this year’s Nokere Koerse for good measure too. He’s finished 2nd and 5th before in Scheldeprijs so should be good for the podium in 2019. It’s impossible to ignore Andre Greipel who’s on a new team for 2019. He’s had a best result at Scheldeprijs of 3rd but so far in 2019 has had a few low top-10s but nothing to get overly excited about. If he can replicate the effort that gave him 8th at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne then he could finish in the top-5.
Cofidis’ Nacer Bouhanni has had an interesting season, finishing outside the time limit in the opening TT for Tirreno-Adriatico but finishing 4th, 5th and 7th in recent races. He’s always had the potential to pull it out of the bag and finished 3rd in the 2017 edition of Scheldeprijs to show his potential here. On Team Katusha for 2019 is Jens Debusschere. He finished 9th in Nokere Koerse and 10th at Gent-Wevelgem recently. A harder race will suit him better than the more natural sprinters but his 4th place at last year’s Scheldeprijs means he’s a contender.
Chris Lawless finished 3rd in last year’s Scheldeprijs, sprinting from the small bunch. So far in 2019 his results don’t have an obvious high point, 27th in the Bredene Koksijde Classic being his best. Past results make him a contender over current form. In a similar boat is Vita Concept’s Jeremy Lecroq who was 5th last year. So far his best result of the season is 19th on a stage of La Tropicale Amissa Bongo. He’s also only mentioned here because of his past record.
Direct Energie’s Niccolo Bonifazio entertained us with his solo break near the end of Milan-Sanremo this year, descending like a madman on his local roads. This is his first race since then but he’s had a number of top-10 results at Worldtour level and won the Tropicale Amissa Bongo overall by winning 3 stages.
Sunweb’s Max Walscheid started the season off with a 2nd place at the Tour Down Under, since then he’s managed a couple of top-10s in the UAE. If he’s able to work for himself then he can replicate the 6th place he got in last year’s Scheldeprijs. Andrea Pasqualon will be racing here for the first time. He’s been there or thereabouts in 2019, finishing 16th in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and 13th at De Panne. He’s got the potential to go missing but had a career season in 2018 that he’ll want to push on from. Another rider with a career season last year is Cofidis’ Hugo Hofstetter. He’s done well in the Spring Classic type races in 2019 with 11th in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, 5th in Ronde van Drenthe and 5th in Nokere Koerse. With Bouhanni now off the startlist, he’ll potentially be able to top-10.
UAE’s Simone Consonni is in good form with 7 top-10 results in 2019. He finished 8th at the Bredene Koksijde Classic so should be able to finish similarly highly at this year’s Scheldeprijs. It’s his first edition of the race but he’s capable of sneaking into the top-10. His teammate Jasper Philipsen may be who the team works for though. 3rd place at this year’s Nokere Koerse shows his potential. Wanty Group-Gobert also have Tim Dupont as well as Pasqualon mentioned above. He’s in excellent form with a 3rd place at GP Denain and 5th at the Bredene Koksijde Classic. At the pan-flat De Panne though he was 76th. His best chance depends on if he’ll be working for Andrea Pasqualon or not at the finale.
Scheldeprijs 2019 Outsiders
Vita Concept’s hopes may be with Jonas van Genechten rather than Lecroq. In good form after 7th at De Panne and 6th at Nokere Koerse this season, he’s more than capable of getting into the top-10 sprint-off in this year’s Scheldeprijs. With 11 top-10 finishes but 0 wins, Dimension Data’s Ryan Gibbons has been remarkably consistent. The form has kept going with 3rd and 7th places in stages of the Volta a Catalunya – he’s not an obvious favourite but his form puts him in the conversation.
Quickstep’s Florian Senechal was 6th at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne before getting his first professional win at Le Samyn this year. Not an obvious sprinter that may prevent him from winning but his form in those races and even the 25th and 30th places at E3 Binckbank and Dwars Door Vlaanderen whilst helping teammates are all encouraging. Another young rider getting his first big win is Cees Bol who won Nokere Koerse. He’ll be hoping to emulate Fabio Jakobsen who won both races last season. He followed that win with 11th at De Panne and clearly is in good form.
Scheldeprijs 2019 Prediction
1 – Pascal Ackermann
2 – Fabio Jakobsen
Nacer Bouhanni Hugo Hofstetter