Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) netted his third win of 2018 in his hometown race Sunday when he beat Jonas van Genechten (Vital Concept Cycling Club) and Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) in a bunch sprint to finish Grote Prijs Jef Scherens in Leuven, Belgium.
The 26-year-old winner of the 2016 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne took his first 2018 win last month during stage 4 in the Binck Bank Tour, beating Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and Zdeněk Štybar (Quick-Step Floors) in a field sprint. Stuyven took the Grand Prix de Wallonie on September 12 with a late-race move, and then topped off his hat-trick of late-season wins with Grote Prijs Jef Scherens four days later in the town where he was born, raised and currently lives.
"This feels really great," Stuyen said after Sunday's race. "It may not be a WorldTour race, but it’s my hometown race, and there was a lot of pressure on my shoulders. I was really motivated and asked the guys to go all-in like a big Classic, and they did. They really rode incredible, and then it's really nice to finish it off and win in front of the home crowds. The feeling is hard to describe."
Trek-Segafredo put pressure on the race throughout the day, first with a pace that whittled the peloton down to 50 riders, then with a late attack from Toms Skujins that created a three-rider break over the final two laps. Lotto-Soudal pulled the lead trio back with 9km to go, and Skujins worked to keep Stuyvens in position from there. In the finale, Stuyven tagged onto the Wanty-Group Gobert leadout train and timed his sprint for the win.
"I think I am on a good streak at the moment and it’s really nice to finish the season in this way," Stuyven said. "I had a strong spring campaign with a lot of top 10s, and now I grab podium places and wins, and that feels really good. Today the team believed in me, it was great teamwork all day, and this also gave me more confidence for the sprint. I am happy to pay back the team with this victory."