Development Top day for Lotto Dstny Development Team

Lennert Van Eetvelt takes second stage win and overall classification in Alpes Isère Tour, Gianluca Pollefliet wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Race 28 May 2023

Lotto Dstny's development riders showed themselves last weekend. Not only did Lennert van Eetvelt achieve a victory on Saturday, but on Sunday he took his second stage win in a row, thus securing the overall classification. The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was in turn won by Gianluca Pollefliet, who proved to be the strongest in a sprint à deux.

Van Eetvelt started the final day of the French stage race with just under a minute's lead in the general classification. He started with confidence, but was also realistic. "There are only two riders from the team left in the race, it won't be easy to control the race. On the other hand, it's such a tough mountain stage, it will probably just be a man-to-man battle and the strongest will win."

In the end, the youngster was right. In the finale, he and the runner-up, Oscar Onley, rode away from the depleted pack and started the chase on the escapee. The leader's effort turned out to be in vain and not much later Van Eetvelt left Onley behind at 12.7km from the end. "Oscar and I rotated well on the way. That's what we had agreed on, to stay together as long as possible and to take our time. He did his share of the work, but at the end I noticed I had something left in the tank and went looking for the win."

Just like Saturday, he finished the job after a handsome solo and also gets to go home with the overall classification. A boost for the 21-year-old rider who went through a difficult period in recent weeks. "But now I can put this completely behind me," he states, "I told you on Saturday, I am so happy that I can race again. That gives me so much pleasure and it's nice to just do what I'm good at. It also makes me very happy that my many training efforts over the past few months have paid off and I get to go home here with two wins and the overall classification."

Van Eetvelt will now move on to the Mercan Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes (Fra/1.1) and then also ride the Tour of Switzerland (World Tour). "A win in the Under-23s is nice," he concludes, "winning is always nice and it certainly wasn't easy, but my goals are higher this year. I hope to show myself at the pros as early as Tuesday. Perhaps on Tuesday I will still feel the legs from last week, but I hope to do well in that race and I also want to show myself in Switzerland. This was a nice five days, nice to start again like this and I can now put that unpleasant chapter completely behind me."

With the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, the Development also competed on another front and here too the team was celebrating. "I had a top day today and really did have super legs," said winner Gianluca Pollefliet. "At the beginning of the season I circled this race in my calender. To be able to achieve and actually win, that means a lot. I helped make the race hard and at the end I got away with Tijl (De Decker) and a few others. We took turns attacking, eventually I got away and Tijl left the gap, only Dylan Vandenstorme picked up the pace."

It came down to a sprint à deux that just narrowly beat a chasing group. "After such a long and tough race, your sprint is no longer as it should be," Pollefliet admitted. "Dylan was a worthy opponent, it was close, but I win and that's the most important thing. Just like the past few weeks we showed that we are a team. Fantastic."