WorldTeam Harm Vanhoucke: “This second place gives me confidence.”
Lotto Soudal rider Harm Vanhoucke finished the four-day Romanian Sibiu Tour in second place overall. The Italian Giovanni Aleotti (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the general classification for the second consecutive year. A second place in the queen stage and a third spot in the mountain time trial delivered Vanhoucke his second place on GC. The 25-year-old Belgian looks back on four days of racing in Romania.
“Despite a second place overall, I end this Sibiu Tour with a good feeling. After a difficult Giro it is nice to be up there again. This gives me confidence and makes sure I can work towards future goals with a good feeling”, says Harm Vanhoucke.
The queen stage, which took the riders up to Lake Bâlea, was a first big appointment for the guys with GC ambitions. Following a climb of over 20 kilometres, Vanhoucke was only beaten on the line by Italian Aleotti.
“The course of the queen stage was quite straightforward with only the almost 25 kilometres long climb at the end. There the strongest guys would automatically come to the fore. The team protected me really well during that stage and made sure I could start the climb without losing energy before. I felt strong and after several attacks, we could ride away with three guys. Uijtdebroeks rode full gas for his teammate Aleotti and in the sprint, the Italian was clearly a bit faster. That is why I could not be disappointed to be missing out on the stage win.”
On the fourth and final race day in Romania, the riders were treated with no less than two stages. In a mountain time trial of twelve kilometres, Vanhoucke clocked the third time, which secured his second spot overall. During the closing stage of just under 100 kilometres, the early breakaway stayed ahead with the Italian Stefano Gandin taking the win. Vanhoucke finished inside the bunch, that way securing his second place on GC.
“I gave my all during the time trial, which resulted in a third place. During the closing stage, the team again did a great job to keep me in front with the technical finish in mind. I managed to finish safely inside the bunch and could step onto the podium as second on GC”, concludes Vanhoucke.