Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) won the 71st edition of Halle-Ingooigem in Belgium on Tuesday in a reduced-bunch sprint ahead of Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors) and Sean De Bie (Veranda's Willems Crelan). The 24-year-old Dutchman notched his second win of the year after taking out a stage in Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in January.
“Finally, I've been able to win again,” Van Poppel said. "I’m really pleased about it. In the last few weeks, I’ve been very close a few times, especially at the Giro d'Italia, so you can imagine how happy I am with this victory."
Van Poppel and teammate Maarten Wynants bridged to a large leading group on the final lap of the race. Wynants then held the group together so that Van Poppel could launch his sprint.
“It was really close between Jakobsen and me, but winning is winning," he said. "I was perfectly placed, and wanted to start my sprint earlier than Jakobsen did. I lost quite a bit of speed at the end, but luckily it was enough for the win. Maarten did a lot of work for me, and we managed to bridge across to the leading group. He ensured that it stayed together and that I could sprint. This gives me a lot of confidence for the coming weeks."
Runner-up Jakobsen was disappointed not to win, but happy with how his Quick-Step teammates had ridden, and was already looking ahead to his next goal.
"I felt good, and the entire team did a great job," the Dutchman said in a team press release. "Dries Devenyns, who's been out for three months, chased the escapees hard. Pieter Serry took over on the circuit – which was really demanding – while the other guys tried to be in the various moves and protect me throughout the day. Michael [Mørkøv] provided a good lead-out, but I jumped a second too late from the field and that was that.
"I'm disappointed to finish second, as I had strong legs and felt I could have won, but this result is already history now, and I will move my focus to next Sunday's National Championships," said Jakobsen.