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) TeamResult
1Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard5:46:19 
2Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:57 
3Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard0:00:59 
4Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
5Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
6Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:03 
7Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:05 
8Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:01:11 
9Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:02:13 
10Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
11Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony0:02:15 
12Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
13Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:02:24 
14Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:05:12 
15Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana Pro Team0:05:14 
16Thomas Degand (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty0:05:16 
17Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:05:30 
DNFTom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFKevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFDries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFNikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFPieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFGert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFKristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFSander Cordeel (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFBart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFFrancis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFKenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFGert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFOlivier Kaisen (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFMaarten Neyens (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFFrederique Robert (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFJurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFJurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFTosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFJonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFDennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFTim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFFrederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFYannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
DNFFrédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFVincent Baestaens (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFKoen Barbe (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFJonathan Breyne (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFKevin Claeys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFSébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFGilles Devillers (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFKurt Hovelynck (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFKevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFBaptiste Plackaert (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFChristophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFStijn Steels (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFKlaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFSven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan-Euphony  
DNFSander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFJasper De Buyst (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFKenny De Ketele (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFTim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFPieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFYves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFTim Mertens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFStijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFTom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFPreben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFGijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFMichael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFKenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFSven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFArthur Van Overberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFJelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise  
DNFSteven Caethoven (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFTim De Troyer (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFJérôme Gilbert (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFGregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFRoy Jans (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFStaf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFJurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFJames Vanlandschoot (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFBenjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty  
DNFMaxime Anciaux (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFQuentin Bertholet (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFOlivier Chevalier (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFJonathan De Witte (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFAntoine Demoitie (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFTom Dernies (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFBoris Dron (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFJonathan Dufrasne (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFLaurent Evrard (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFChristian Patron (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFFabio Polazzi (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFJulien Stassen (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFJustin Van Hoecke (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles  
DNFJoeri Adams (Bel) Telenet Fidea  
DNFTom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea  
DNFRob Peeters (Bel) Telenet Fidea  
DNFBart Wellens (Bel) Telenet Fidea  
DNFJim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team  
DNFKlaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team  
DNFMaxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack Leopard  
DNFKris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFWillem Wauters (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFOlivier Pardini (Bel) Verandas Willems  
DNFFloris Smeyers (Bel) Verandas Willems  
DNFNiels Vandyck (Bel) Verandas Willems  
DNFJan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFNico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFRomain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFMaarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
DNFWietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus  
DNFDieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus  
DNFSébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFJohan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFKevin Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling  
DNFKristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling  
DNFJan Denuwelaere (Bel)  
DNFBert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFKevin Hulsmans (Bel) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia  
DNFJens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFBart Aernouts (Bel)  
DNFDavid Boucher (Fra) FDJ  
DNFSteve Bekaert (Bel) Burgos BH-Castilla y Leon  
DNFKevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk  
DNFThomas Raeymaekers (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk  
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