Naesen claims Belgian road race title

AG2R rider pips Vanmarcke and Stuyven in four-up sprint

Oliver Naesen (AG2R) is the new Belgian champion. The 26 year-old won the sprint from a five-man group in Antwerp. Naesen jumped his front wheel in the air and narrowly beat Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) to the line. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) was third ahead of Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott) and Nathan Van Hooydonck (BMC).

"It's unbelievable. This was the piece of the puzzle that I was waiting for since the spring; it finally all came together. I squeezed out the last bit of energy that was in me during that sprint," Naesen said in the post-race flash interview.

The race started on the same location as the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the historical main square of Antwerp. Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) was the defending champion. After a neutralized start, the riders reached the 17 kilometres long circuit which they had to cover fourteen times, totalling 238 kilometres. The course was completely flat though 1500 metres of cobbles spiced up the challenge at the backend of the course.

Early on, Lotto-Soudal was in a comfortable position. They had Jürgen Roelandts in the breakaway group, allowing them to save all other riders. Roelandts had to work hard as he was only joined by Jonas Rickaert (Sport Vlaanderen) and Kevyn Ista (WB-Veranclassic-Aqua Protect). After six laps of racing the trio enjoyed their maximum lead of 7:30 on the peloton. From there, Tim Declercq (Quick-Step Floors) and Ben Hermans (BMC) joined forces to bring back their deficit.

At 57 kilometres from the finish the trio was caught back. Straight away, the attacks were flying around to create a new race situation. A move with Jelle Wallays (Lotto-Soudal), Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors), Quinten Hermans (Telenet-Fidea Lions), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Tom Van Asbroeck (Cannondale-Scott) was neutralized by the BMC-team. Several solo attempts followed, including a massive move from Philippe Gilbert at forty kilometres from the finish. When hitting the penultimate lap, everybody was still together.

Then, Jens Keukeleire made a move. He was joined by 2015 champion Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise) and a few others. A second group joined up, creating a group of fourteen riders. The second group featured big names, including among others Oliver Naesen, Sep Vanmarcke, Jasper Stuyven, Tim Merlier (Willems Veranda's-Crelan), Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Nathan Van Hooydonck and Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors). Suddenly, the peloton was a minute down on the leaders and their race was over. On the cobbles, Naesen accelerated and only Jasper Stuyven, Sep Vanmarcke, Nathan Van Hooydonck and Keukeleire were able to keep up. The Belgian teams were missing out in front.

During the final lap, the five worked well together, keeping the chasers and peloton at distance. On the final passages over the cobbles, Vanmarcke attacked twice but without success. A tired Van Hooydonck led out the sprint ahead of Naesen, Keukeleire, Stuyven and Vanmarcke. Vanmarcke started the sprint from far out, surprising the others. Naesen had the best reaction and waited until the final metres to pass Vanmarcke, throwing his front wheel over the line.

Naesen was massively excited, throwing his sunglasses and helmet in the crowd while celebrating the biggest win of his career. "I felt like I was the strongest rider in the group but then there were three really strong riders. Jens and Jasper are usually faster than me but after such a long, hard race, anything is possible; I was confident about that. Sep started from far out and had a good gap. He did what I did in E3 Harelbeke, while I did what Greg did. I was in the slipstream and came over him on the line. Hopefully this is my breakthrough victory. I knew I was ready for it," Naesen said.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale5:18:29 
2Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac  
3Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
4Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott0:00:01 
5Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:00:04 
6Tim Merlier (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:00:47 
7Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
8Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:00:48 
9Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
10Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:20 
11Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Beobank - Corendon  
12Timothy Dupont (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
13Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
14Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
15Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
16Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
17Roy Jans (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
18Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
19Loïc Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
20Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Sunweb  
21Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
22Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Sunweb  
23Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
24Alexander Geuens (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice Continental Team  
25Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
26Michaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
27Daan Soete (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions  
28Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
29Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
30Mathias De Witte (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
31Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
32Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
33Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
34Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
35Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
36Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions  
37Robin Stenuit (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
38Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
39Julien Vermote (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
40Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
41Jarl Salomein (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
42Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
43Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data  
44Maxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect0:01:26 
45Olivier Pardini (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
46Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions  
47Piet Allegaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
48Floris De Tier (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
49Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
50Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
51Brecht Ruyters (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
52Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions  
53Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
54Kevin Ista (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect0:01:29 
55Emiel Vermeulen (Bel) Roubaix - Lille Metropole  
56Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
57Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
58Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
59Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
60Wout Van Aert (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
61Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
62Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
63Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era - Circus0:01:38 
64Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:01:46 
65Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
66Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:01:53 
67Lawrence Naesen (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect0:01:57 
68Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin  
69Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
70Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
71Gregory Habeaux (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
72Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
73Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect0:02:33 
74Ludwig De Winter (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect0:02:58 
75Stijn Devolder (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:03:20 
76Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
77Michiel Dieleman (Bel) Cibel - Cebon0:03:27 
78Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:04:03 
79Michael Goolaerts (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
80Stijn Steels (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:04:06 
81Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac0:05:30 
DNFRemy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFMaxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFThomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFJelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFLouis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFSander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFEnzo Wouters (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFBen Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
DNFTim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
DNFJenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFRobby Cobbaert (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
DNFThomas Degand (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFBoris Vallee (Bel) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFEli Iserbyt (Bel) Marlux Napoleon Games  
DNFKevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux Napoleon Games  
DNFDieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux Napoleon Games  
DNFKlaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux Napoleon Games  
DNFJens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice Continental Team  
DNFGerry Druyts (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice Continental Team  
DNFJulien Stassen (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
DNFRob Peeters (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice Continental Team  
DNFLudovic Robeet (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
DNFDennis Coenen (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
DNFQuinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions  
DNFDaan Hoeyberghs (Bel) Beobank - Corendon  
DNFTom Meeusen (Bel) Beobank - Corendon  
DNFDiether Sweeck (Bel) Era - Circus  
DNFJoeri Calleeuw (Bel) Roubaix - Lille Metropole  
DNFLander Seynaeve (Bel) Roubaix - Lille Metropole  
DNFNicolas Vereecken (Bel) Roubaix - Lille Metropole  
DNFLaurent Van Den Bak (Bel) LPC  
DNFRob Leemans (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice Continental Team  
DNFXandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFKenny De Ketele (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFMoreno De Pauw (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFLindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFKevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFEdward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFRuben Pols (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFJonas Rickaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFJens Wallays (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFAntoine Warnier (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFAime De Gendt (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFGaetan Bille (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFSander Cordeel (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFJappe Jaspers (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFElias Van Breussegem (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFOtto Vergaerde (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFThomas Deruette (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
DNFJimmy Duquennoy (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect  
DNFFrederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  

Related Articles

Back to top