Development A win-win Van Eetvelt in France

Lennert Van Eetvelt claims victory in Alpes Isère Tour.
Race 27 May 2023

Lennert Van Eetvelt triumphed on Saturday in the Alpes Isère Tour (Fra/2.2) with a solo performance. The 21-year-old rider from Lotto Dstny made his move 9 km from the finish line, breaking away from a group of favorites and not only claiming victory but also securing the leader's jersey. "This feels incredibly rewarding," said Van Eetvelt after his double success.

The French stage race serves as a playground for aspiring talents in France, and Lennert Van Eetvelt entered the race with ambition. While the past few days favored the sprinters, the young climber found his terrain on Saturday, joining forces with a group of strong climbers. "Our aim wasn't necessarily to take the leader's jersey today," said team manager Dirk Aernouts of the Lotto Dstny Development Team, "but Lennert felt very strong, and the opportunity presented itself. Lennert was clearly the strongest in the breakaway group, and when such an opportunity arises, you simply have to seize it with both hands. He gained a significant advantage over Oscar Onley (who finished second), and we enter the final day with a comfortable lead. Hopefully, we'll bring it to a successful conclusion on Sunday."

"I felt incredibly good today," admitted Lennert Van Eetvelt after the race, "we broke away with a few guys and just went for it. I sensed along the way that I was among the better climbers, so I decided to turn it into a demanding race. Towards the end, I took my chance. Everyone was clearly exhausted, and there was a small incline about 9 km from the finish, so I went all out. It worked, no one could follow, and I soloed to victory." Van Eetvelt crossed the finish line with a 52-second lead over Oscar Onley and 1:11 over Johannes Kulset.

He now leads the overall ranking with a 55-second advantage over the British rider and 1:19 over the Norwegian. "I approach the final stage on Sunday with confidence," he stated, "it will be a true mountain stage, and over the past few weeks, I've trained extensively uphill in Tenerife, feeling very strong. After everything that has happened in recent weeks, it's simply fantastic to be able to compete again. I was already very happy to start here, ride in the peloton again, and now winning makes it even more enjoyable. I'm having a great time; after many weeks of training due to circumstances, it feels extraordinary to do what I love: racing. Sunday's stage will be tough, and it's unfortunate that our team only has two riders left in the race. It will be challenging to control, but I'll give it my all. It's a demanding mountain stage, where the strongest riders will come to the front, and hopefully, I'll bring home the overall classification."

Fotocredits: Alpes Isère Tour (Philip Melchior) & Lotto Dstny

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