WorldTeam Victor Campenaerts takes strong fifth at Omloop despite bad luck

Two punctures and a crash didn't hold Victor Campenaerts back to impress at the Omloop.
26 February 2022

Lotto Soudal rider Victor Campenaerts finished fifth at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, his first race of the season. Despite two punctures and a crash, the 30-year-old Belgian was up there after the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen. In the run-up to the Bosberg, Wout Van Aert launched his attack. Campenaerts gave his all to bridge towards his compatriot, but he couldn’t close the gap. Van Aert extended his lead as he came closer to the finish in Ninove, where he took a solo victory. A sizeable group sprinted for second place, with Campenaerts ending the Omloop with a powerful sprint, a fifth place and a satisfied feeling.

“Going into this race, we wouldn’t have signed for fifth place, but given how the race unfolded I am happy with this result”, said Victor Campenaerts after the Omloop. “Florian Vermeersch put our team in a comfortable position thanks to his attack. That way, I ended up in a good situation during the final. I didn’t suffer too much from the crash, but I also had to deal with a few punctures and bike changes. However, I realised that I needed to keep my head cool. I knew I was in good shape and riders with good legs automatically come out on top on the Muur.”

Foto: Facepeeters.

Today, the peloton hit the Belgian roads again for the first time this season at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. After a traditional nervous start to the race, the 77th edition of the Omloop really kicked off after the climb of the Wolvenberg. Lotto Soudal youngster Florian Vermeersch anticipated and bridged towards the early breakaway together with Küng and Vliegen.

When the front group built up its advantage to around a minute, the alarm bells went off in the peloton. On the Berendries, the peloton split to pieces and five riders bridged towards the leading group including Vermeersch. In the end, it all came together again on the Muur van Geaardsbergen, where Victor Campenaerts came back to the fore after he had to deal with some bad luck. Not much later, Van Aert launched an attack just before the Bosberg, the final climb of the day. Campenaerts did everything in his power to follow, but couldn’t close the gap. Van Aert rode solo to victory, Campenaerts ended an impressive race in fifth place.

Victor Campenaerts: “When Wout Van Aert attacked just before the Bosberg, I maybe hesitated a little too long. I tried to react but soon I realised I would not catch him. To avoid my legs to explode, I made the switch and waited for the chasing group. Wout showed he was the best man in the race today. Normally, my sprint isn’t my best weapon but the fact that I still finish fifth shows how hard the race was and how fast Wout rode. As a team we had of course preferred a better result but despite the absence of our leader Wellens, we certainly didn’t do bad today. The atmosphere and team spirit is good and I am sure there is more to come than just a fifth place.”

Florian Vermeersch was also satisfied after the Omloop, even though the youngster had secretly hoped for more.

“I felt good and anticipated after the Wolvenberg, which created a good situation for the team. It would have been more interesting if not only Küng and Vliegen but also some other strong riders would have joined us. There was a lot of headwind, which cost us a lot of energy. Until the Muur, I found myself in a comfortable position but on the climb the legs exploded. Respect for what Victor did today, he really did an epic race.”

Images: Photo News & Facepeeters.

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