Development Tijl De Decker wins Paris Roubaix Espoirs
Tijl De Decker (22) proved to be the strongest in the U23 version of Paris-Roubaix. The cyclist from the Lotto Dstny Development Team soloed to victory on the track in France. With Robin Orins finishing third, a second rider from the team completed the podium.
De Decker was part of an early breakaway with teammates Robin Orins and Jelle Harteel, which was eventually caught by a reduced peloton. In the finale, De Decker launched a new attack that earned him the victory: "On Camphin-en-Pévèle, the section before Carrefour de l'Arbre, I went all out. My teammates ensured that I had a little gap, but I didn't think the others would let me go. I was surprised that there was no reaction on Carrefour de l'Arbre. I thought we would go to the Vélodrome with a little group to sprint, but I was alone, and then it was just à bloc until the finish."
De Decker delivered a beautiful solo performance, extending his lead to over one minute, leaving the rest of the peloton out of sight. "These were truly the most beautiful 20 km of my career. I gave it everything I had, but it was all worth it. This is really enjoyable, it's a fantastic race, especially with the rain and mud along the way. It makes this race even tougher, but all the more beautiful. It's great to be able to add this race to my palmares."
The 22-year-old rider praised the work of his teammates: "This shows that the Lotto Dstny Development Team is the best U23 team in the peloton. Everyone worked hard, and we had the race under control. The results speak for themselves. We have three riders in the top 10, Robin (Orins) finished third, and Gianlucca Pollefliet finished eighth. The whole team can be proud of this achievement."
Image: Brecht Steenhouwer