WorldTeam Lotto Soudal animates Brussels Cycling Classic
The redesigned Brussels Cycling Classic course immediately showed its effect. A double ascent of the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg ensured a selection because after the first time up the Muur, an elite group formed with Lotto Soudal duo Philippe Gilbert and Tosh Van der Sande part of it. Over the hilly terrain towards Brussels, the leading group was eventually reduced to seven riders. The bunch wasn’t able to close the gap, so it became clear the winner was to be found at the front.
At twenty kilometres to go, the race was decided in a rather bizarre way. Five escapees went the wrong way, only Remco Evenepoel and Aimé De Gendt took the right turn and headed towards Brussels. At around ten kilometres to go, Evenepoel shook off his companion and soloed to the victory. Just ahead of the charging peloton, Tosh Van der Sande sprinted to third, Philippe Gilbert finished fourth.
“It was a nice race actually due to the modified course”, starts Tosh Van der Sande. “The middle part of the Brussels Cycling Classic with the Muur was really hard and to be honest, I was quite at the limit there. But the closer we came to the finish, the better I felt. But then came that decisive moment, where we rode the wrong way with five of the escapees. It was a strange moment because the TV motorbike went right, an arrow also pointed to the right but then I looked at my head unit, which said left… As a rider, you have to know the course so there are no excuses. I also think Remco was the strongest today, he really was the engine of the group. It’s the second time I experience this with Remco after earlier in the Tour of Denmark, but we keep trying of course!”
Philippe Gilbert: “The whole team did fantastic today, we were brought into a perfect position ahead of the Muur and I was part of that move with Tosh. Of course, it was still far till the finish but the cooperation was good, until the moment we went the wrong way… The arrow pointed to the right and I followed the TV bike, which also went right. But as a rider you have to know the course, it is our responsibility. I followed the wheel of Campenaerts but of course you can’t blame anyone, it was also my mistake. Then, the first two places were gone of course. Still, it was nice to finish 3rd and 4th and I am happy with the shape. I didn’t feel great at the Druivenkoers and I hope to still improve a bit till the Benelux Tour.”