Devolder aims at third Flanders title

Belgian champion Stijn Devolder and his daughter.

Belgian champion Stijn Devolder and his daughter. (Image credit:

Stijn Devolder, the new Classics leader of Team Vacansoleil, is targeting a third Tour of Flanders victory next season. The Belgian, who celebrated with his fan club in Deerlijk on Saturday, said that a third-time title at the "Ronde" would be his main objective for the coming year.

"If I could choose, then that would be my pick," he told Sportwereld when asked which race he'd most like to win in 2011. "Unfortunately, that's not the way it works." Devolder, who won the Belgian Classic in 2008 and 2009, only finished 25th behind 2010 winner Fabian Cancellara this year.

The two-time Belgian champion does not know when he will start his 2011 race programme yet, whether this will include the Tour of Qatar before the Belgian season opener Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on February 26.

"Next year, I might do Milan-San Remo, even if it's only for the many racing kilometres. My plan is not to ride Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, not like I did this year," he added, further strengthening his focus on the Flandrian Classics only.

Looking even further ahead, Devolder said that he would surely have an eye on the 2012 Worlds in Limburg, Netherlands, which may be suited to a Classics rider. "Much more than Copenhagen, where it will be located in 2011," he said.

Devolder pulled out of the Belgian team selection for Geelong, Australia, at the very last minute this year due to a lack of form. He may have to share team leadership with Philippe Gilbert again when the event turns to the Cauberg two years from now.

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