Devolder solos to third Belgian road race title

Meersman, Bakelants couldn't close the gap

Outsider Stijn Devolder (Radioshack-Leopard) grabbed his third title at the Belgian national championships in La Roche-en-Ardenne on Sunday afternoon. After sixteen laps on a hilly course the 33 year-old clearly outmatched his rivals, arriving solo one minute ahead of Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and Bakelants (Radioshack-Leopard). When crossing the line Devolder paid tribute to his deceased friend Wouter Weylandt.

Devolder won his first title in Ronse 2007 and his second in Leuven 2010. Pre-race favourites Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) and world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) didn't have anything left when Devolder powered away at 25km from the finish. Defending champion Tom Boonen tried his luck in an early move but didn't feature when the finale got underway.

Already during the Spring Classics it was clear Devolder had the national championships on his mind. Back then he already realized that he had to ride smart in order to win as his team lacked the numbers to control the race.

"I had to be smart but also time my move well," Devolder said. "This is great. I was well prepared for this race. I was hiding well during the last few races because I didn't want to become a favourite. I can't believe that I'm Belgian champion." To his own surprise Devolder wasn't featured in the Radioshack-Leopard selection for the Tour de France last week. "This isn't an answer to that. I just wanted to win today. It's an important day for me."

Also during the race Devolder had been hiding well. When Tom Boonen went up the road with teammates Pieter Serry and Dries Devenyns, along with Bart Declercq (Lotto-Belisol), during the third of sixteen laps it was Vacansoleil-DCM and Crelan-Euphony who kept their move at around two minutes. Strong moves from men like Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) and Gilbert at 80km from the finish eventually neutralized the breakaway move at five laps from the finish.

Twenty kilometres later a group of 18 riders sneaked away in three steps. The group eventually featured Van Keirsbulck, Serge Pauwels and Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), De Gendt and Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM), Devolder and Bakelants (Radioshack-Leopard), Gaetan Bille and Gert Dockx (Lotto-Belisol), Maxime Vantomme (Crelan-Euphony), Thomas Degand (Accent Jobs-Wanty), Laurens Devreese (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco), Kevin Seeldrayers (Astana) and cyclo-cross rider Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games). Jurgen Roelandts tried to get back on his own but he fell short. At 50km from the finish the rest of the peloton was out of contention too.

Bakelants, De Gendt and Seeldrayers made Omega Pharma-Quickstep work hard with a new attack, but with two laps to go the 18 riders were back together. The attack from Bille didn't create much damage but at 25 kilometres from the finish Devolder blasted away on the big ring. He went up and over Bille and in no time he collected a gap of half a minute.

In the background Omega Pharma-Quickstep ran out of numbers as Pauwels and Van Keirsbulck didn't have enough energy left in their tank to keep Devolder under control. Three kilometres later the two Omega Pharma-Quickstep boys were gone and Devolder had 50s. Several attacks followed but no organized chase. With one lap to go the gap was up to 1:06 on eleven chasers. More attacks followed with all riders on their limit but clearly the focus was on second place. Meersman got the better from Bakelants, Leukemans, Vanmarcke, Van Avermaet, Gilbert and Van den Broeck.

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard 5:46:19  
2 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:57  
3 Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard 0:00:59  
4 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
5 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
6 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:03  
7 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:05  
8 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:01:11  
9 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:02:13  
10 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
11 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony 0:02:15  
12 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
13 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:02:24  
14 Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:05:12  
15 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana Pro Team 0:05:14  
16 Thomas Degand (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty 0:05:16  
17 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:05:30  
DNF Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
DNF Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
DNF Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
DNF Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
DNF Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
DNF Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
DNF Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team    
DNF Sander Cordeel (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Maarten Neyens (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Frederique Robert (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
DNF Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Koen Barbe (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Jonathan Breyne (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Kevin Claeys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Gilles Devillers (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Baptiste Plackaert (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Christophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Stijn Steels (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Klaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan-Euphony    
DNF Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Tim Mertens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Arthur Van Overberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise    
DNF Steven Caethoven (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Tim De Troyer (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Jérôme Gilbert (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Roy Jans (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Benjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty    
DNF Maxime Anciaux (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Quentin Bertholet (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Olivier Chevalier (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Jonathan De Witte (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Tom Dernies (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Boris Dron (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Jonathan Dufrasne (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Laurent Evrard (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Christian Patron (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Fabio Polazzi (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Julien Stassen (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Justin Van Hoecke (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles    
DNF Joeri Adams (Bel) Telenet Fidea    
DNF Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea    
DNF Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet Fidea    
DNF Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet Fidea    
DNF Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team    
DNF Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team    
DNF Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack Leopard    
DNF Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Willem Wauters (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Olivier Pardini (Bel) Verandas Willems    
DNF Floris Smeyers (Bel) Verandas Willems    
DNF Niels Vandyck (Bel) Verandas Willems    
DNF Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
DNF Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
DNF Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
DNF Maarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus    
DNF Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus    
DNF Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Sharp    
DNF Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin-Sharp    
DNF Kevin Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling    
DNF Kristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling    
DNF Jan Denuwelaere (Bel)    
DNF Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano    
DNF Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia    
DNF Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge    
DNF Bart Aernouts (Bel)    
DNF David Boucher (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Steve Bekaert (Bel) Burgos BH-Castilla y Leon    
DNF Kevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk    
DNF Thomas Raeymaekers (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk    
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