That was a fun race. We can only hope that all of the Ardennes are raced as hard and as early as that one ...
Action started with about 50 to go (or so) - a group of 7 bought back the break and moved off and started working well. A group of 4 bridged up and the group of 13 riders now worked together for a while to form a gap of between 15 - 40 seconds. It seemed to nearly close, then they would move away again ...
Direct Energy missed it and chased hard for a considerable time. Sunweb had one of the favourites in Bling Matthews, but was nowhere near the front at any point of the chase.
With about 30 to go the break seemed to realise that Sonny Colbrelli was there - with a team mate - and none of them really had a chance if he was with them .... so all pretty much stopped working.
Colbrelli did the next 20 km's or so almost on his own. Someone else (not his team mate Bole) would take a turn at times, but Colbrelli was the one
At 10 km to go Colbrelli went back and had a chat to Bole - and Bole came to the front and stayed there until he was done.
Behind the peleton was chasing back to a reasonable gap once again - and on the penultimate climb previous winners Tim Wellens and Peter Vakoc attacked and got away. Gilbert then sat on the front and slowed things down - giving the riders off the front the race.
This was the only thing Quickstep did right (and even then its debatable)
Vakoc and Wellens did not bridge over that climb - nor on the 6 km flat between that and the last climb. And because Quickstep had Vakoc coming, they didnt do anything off the front either (even though there were 2 out of the 8 or so left at the front). The two persuers finally reached the break halfway up the last climb - but it definitely was not a long enough climb to distance Colbrelli in what was left of it - so the group came to the line together - and surprise, surprise, the sprinter won it easily.
At no time was the gap between the peleton and the break greater than 40 seconds .... but in the end, they stayed away to contest the finish - and there is no doubt the strongest guy won.