Sebastien Rosseler (RadioShack) ended the drought of Belgian success at the Brabantse Pijl but he could hardly believe he had even won, admitting he had felt terrible at the start of the race.
The Belgian cycling press had described the spring as catastrophic after Belgian riders failed to win any of the nine one-day races held on home roads so far this season. The last time such a drought of success had happened was back in 1907. Fortunately, Rosseler saved Belgian cycling further blushes by making the early break that stayed away to the finish on Wednesday.
Now the only Belgian record remaining is that which belongs to Omega Pharma-Lotto. Despite Philippe Gilbert again trying his hardest at the Brabantse, the team hasn't won a race for 169 days, since Gilbert won the Tour of Lombardy last October.
Rosseler won a stage at the Volta ao Algarve in February to give the RadioShack team its first ever victory, but a series of crashes and punctures wrecked his own spring campaign.
"This is incredible. I chased [Jurgen] Van de Walle in the beginning only to be in an early breakaway, to have some TV publicity for our sponsor, knowing that we would be caught by the peloton. I had such bad legs this morning in the beginning of the race," he admitted with a smile.
"I read about it [the lack of Belgian wins] this morning - it's good to end it. With three laps to go before the finish, I thought we'd stay away but my legs were really hurting. I began to believe I'd get third place, not win. In the last two weeks I had a lot of bad luck with punctures and crashes, but today it was all good."
Riding for RadioShack
Rosseler was perhaps a surprise signing for the RadioShack team. He has spent most of his career as a hard working domestique with Quick Step. However he has already settled in well at his new squad, with Lance Armstrong quickly congratulating him on his win via Twitter and via directeur sportif Dirk Demol. Rosseler's victory was the eighth of the season for RadioShack.
"It's different team from Quick Step. How? We'll, it's just different, I don’t know why. For a start we speak in English a lot and so my English is getting better," he joked.
Rosseler dashed away from the race so that the team could take several riders to the airport. He will stay in Belgium for the rest of the month before riding the Four days of Dunkirk, the Tour de Picardie, the Tour of Belgium and then the Dauphiné Libéré. He also has a chance of selection for the Tour de France.
"There are 14 riders who have been pre-selected and I'm one of them, so you never know," he said