Stijn Devolder described his victory at the Belgian national road championships as "definitely one of the best wins of my career". The Quick Step rider said it ranked right up with "my first national title and my two triumphs in the Tour of Flanders". It also turned around his season and secured his future at Quick Step, or elsewhere.
Devolder won the Tour of Belgium at the end of May without winning a stage, although the rest of his season hasn't gone to plan. He experienced a barren run in the Spring Classics - in the Tour of Flanders, around which his whole season was planned, Devolder only finished 25th. "I have a miserable year behind me, but in recent weeks it was better," he noted.
Like all his major wins, Devolder won his latest national title in "typical style" according to Belgian news agency belga, with "a solo in the closing stages".
He made a perfectly timed counter attack, 11km from the fiinsh of the testing race, after Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) had tried but failed to get away.
The 30-year-old was not named to Quick Step's Tour de France squad, but there is now a chance that he may be after sprinter Tom Boonen was forced to forfeit his place due to a knee injury and the team has not yet announced his replacement.
"Whether I want to ride the Tour with the tricolore on my back? I can't yet think about it," he replied after his win.
"Let me first enjoy this title with my family and friends. I rode this week with my local supporters and they were already preparing a party for me. That gave me extra pressure, but also extra satisfaction, because I pulled it off. This championship was my priority in this period," he explained.
Devolder's contract with Quick Step expires the end of this year, and there have been indications from both sides that he will change teams. Devolder doesn't know yet where he will ride but is open to offers. "Interested team managers should give me a call," he said.