The young men from the Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise team managed to leave a strong impression in the Belgian opening weekend of racing.
On Saturday, it was Kenneth Vanbilsen who managed to feature in the front of the race deep into the finale of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. On Sunday, 22-year-old Yves Lampaert did even more as he was sprinting for the win as he was part of the strong lead group at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne which also included eventual winner Tom Boonen. After crossing the line, Lampaert expressed both his satisfaction and disappointment about finishing fourth. Following in the footsteps of Tom Boonen, Lampaert used a waterfall of words, speaking spontaneously in a style reminiscent of Eddy Planckaert and Nico Mattan.
"I felt good today and the result reflects that. What matters is the result at the finish. I'm a bit disappointed because I felt the podium was possible. I was extremely nervous but at a certain moment you have to get over it and think about the finish. In the end I'm satisfied, finishing fourth amongst top riders like Boonen and Vanmarcke."
At 75km from the finish, the race was decided on the cobbled Oude Kwaremont climb when a small group of riders distanced the peloton. Five men from the Omega Pharma-Quick-Step team were present, three men from the Belkin team, Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp) and Lampaert.
"I thought the rest of the peloton was on our wheel, but during the descent I looked back and noticed there was a sizeable gap. We turned around and the co-operation was optimal. I felt good and did my turns in front like I should. Team director Walter Planckaert told me to do nothing but my share of the work and keep an eye on Boonen."
That last bit went wrong in the final meters. Lampaert lost sight on Boonen and ended up on the left hand side of the road where Guillaume Van Keirsbulck was dropping back after leading out the sprint; Lampaert was boxed in and was mad about the way he rode the sprint."
"I made a tactical mistake in the end. Vandenbergh did an attack at 1800 meters and Vanmarcke reacted. I jumped on their heels but instead of dropping back and keeping an overview after that I remained in second place. We arrived at 500 meters from the line and Vansummeren went on the left. Again I made a tactical error to let a Belkin-rider react. Instead, I reacted myself and ended up riding with my nose in the wind," Lampaert said.
"The 3-days of West-Flanders is my next race and that should suit me as well. I believe that I can deliver a good performance there as well. Hopefully I can get more chances like today in the future."
Lampaert was also the runner-up at the U23 Paris-Roubaix, behind Bob Jungels.