ProTeam Impressive Brent Van Moer not rewarded at Ronde van Limburg

The 23-year-old Belgian goes solo into closing kilometre but was sent the wrong way.
Race 24 May 2021

Unfortunately, Lotto Soudal rider Brent Van Moer was denied the chance to put the icing on the cake of an impressive effort at the Ronde van Limburg. After nearly 150 kilometres on the attack, Van Moer went solo into the closing kilometre but was sent the wrong way. In the end, the race was decided by a sprint, won by Tim Merlier, who was the fastest on the slightly uphill finish. John Degenkolb finished in third place.

“After an altitude training camp in Andorra – which I did with the Critérium du Dauphiné in mind – I felt really good. Eventually, we decided to add another race to my schedule prior to the French stage race.”, Brent Van Moer begins. “I felt strong and I wanted to open the race really early because Alpecin-Fenix would most likely control the race. Rightly so, because in the end Tim Merlier proved to be the fastest. When I got up the road with two other riders, I knew I had to save my forces and I hoped some riders would still bridge. Eventually, that also happened. On the final cobbled sections, I still felt quite fresh. Contrary to what some people say, I did prepare the race really well using Veloviewer. I knew the course by heart and I knew that there would be a tailwind after the final cobbles. That is why I went full gas because I knew it was possible to stay ahead.”

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After a fast start to the Ronde van Limburg, a three-man breakaway with Brent Van Moer, Cédric Beullens and Sven Burger formed. However, the three were not granted a big advantage. On the undulating roads of Haspengouw, the bunch was gradually reduced but at the front, Brent Van Moer seemed to dispose of endless energy. Even when in the final several riders bridged across to the front, Van Moer did hang on. Even more than that because Van Moer shook off his last breakaway companion Backaert on the penultimate cobbled section and went on riding solo towards the finish in Tongeren. In what remained of the bunch, Lotto Soudal played the team game perfectly. Van Moer entered the closing kilometre with a handful seconds advantage but was sent the wrong way and had to give up his hopes of taking a first professional victory.

Brent Van Moer: “Then, there was that moment… As I said, I knew the course really well because also in the briefing prior to the race, the final was clearly discussed by our sports director. But the signalman gave me a clear indication to turn right. He waved his flag and I followed his instructions. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that something wasn’t right. Pretty soon, the disappoinment kicked in.”

“I still defended around a twelve-second lead but you certainly won’t hear me say that I would have won the race, especially with that uphill finish. Unfortunately, we will never find out how it would have ended but I felt really strong. If I would have been caught at 25 metres from the line, I could have lived with it but what happened now is one of the worst things that can happen to a rider. But I also have to take away the positive things. I didn’t train specifically for the Ronde van Limburg, rather for the Critérium du Dauphiné, the national championships and to ride a good summer with some nice Classics where I want to show myself. With this form, I definitely showed that I can win races”, concludes Brent Van Moer.

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In the end, the race was decided in a sprint, won by the Belgian Tim Merlier, who beat McClay and John Degenkolb on the slightly uphill finish in Tongeren.

John Degenkolb: “Of course, we came for a little bit more than third place. We were on a really good drive in the race, we were always in front and it was really nice to see Brent so strong all day long and he almost made it to the finish solo. As a team, we just did an amazing job, we played all the cards we had and we were always one step ahead. In the end, to get beaten by Tim Merlier in the final sprint is not a big shame, he is in fantastic shape and I still did a good sprint. I am definitely happy with the way I finished.”

Images: Photo News.