ProTeam Strong team performance by Lotto Soudal at Circuit Franco-Belge
Lotto Soudal has delivered a strong team performance in today’s 81st edition of the Circuit Franco-Belge (1.Pro). The Belgian WorldTeam rode an offensive race and eventually also created the decisive move as the race entered the final local lap in La Louvière. In the last twenty kilometres of the race, it was Jasper De Buyst who went on the attack together with Alexander Kristoff and Dries Van Gestel. The trio defended a small advantage and in the closing kilometres, Victor Campenaerts was able to bridge to the head of the race with an impressive acceleration.
Eventually, four riders would battle for victory at the Circuit Franco-Belge. It was De Buyst who led the front group in the final kilometre. Campenaerts tried to surprise and launched his sprint early but despite a strong kick, he had to settle for third place after winner Kristoff and Van Gestel. Nevertheless, with Campenaerts in third, De Buyst in fourth and De Lie in sixth place, Lotto Soudal can look back on a successful race.
Victor Campenaerts again showed his excellent shape after winning in Leuven last weekend. “Unfortunately, we came for more than third, fourth and sixth but this team performance really shows how strong we raced today. As a team, we were always in control but Alexander Kristoff was just a bit stronger today and also Dries Van Gestel was impressive. I tried to go for a surprise move in the sprint, which also succeeded. Unfortunately, I had to surrender in the final 50 metres. This may be a disappointment, but as a team we can be proud of this performance. We try to continue like this in the races to come.”
With a sixth place, Lotto Soudal youngster Arnaud De Lie secured the overall victory in the Exterioo Cycling Cup with still one event remaining.
“Honestly, I didn’t know that I could already be sure of winning the cup, but this is a nice reward. As a team we did really well. Our offensive style of racing ensured that we came into a winning position and we can’t blame ourselves for anything. I felt really good today but at the end, my energy resources were getting depleted. But of course I am really happy with this result and the overall victory in the Exterioo Cycling Cup’, concludes Arnaud De Lie.
Jasper De Buyst created the move that eventually went to the finish. “I was able to open up a gap together with Kristoff and Van Gestel but I felt quite soon that Kristoff was really strong and that it would be really difficult to beat him. Victor impressed by bridging to the front and I started to work for him as I thought he would have a better shot at the victory. After the Tour of Leuven we did another nice race. Following a season full of bad luck, it feels nice to be up there again, riding for the top places.”
For Caleb Ewan, the Circuit Franco-Belge was his first race after the Tour. The Australian worked for the team but abandoned the race at two local laps from the finish. His next race will be Bemer Cyclassics Hamburg.
Images: Maxime Van der Wielen.