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Ronde van Vlaanderen - Tour des Flandres 2023, one day monument, April 2 (men's)

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I have never ridden Flanders, so I cannot judge with full confidence, but it seems to me that JV and UAE could have eliminated MvdP fairly easily but riding at the pace of the second group for about 50-60 km and at that point the second group would have been empty.
Completely unrelated; How hard could it be for Kirby to say Biniam instead of Biniamin...