Jasper Stuyven has played down suggestions he is the next Fabian Cancellara and a future team leader for the Trek-Segafredo team after his dominant display and victory in Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
The 23-year-old Belgian was unable to get across to the front group in Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and eventually crashed on a corner after making a futile chase. 24 hours later he did not make the same mistake and attacked alone with 30km to take an impressive victory in Kuurne.
After the race Cancellara tweeted: "Big ride and chapeu to @Jasperstuyven and the @TrekSegafredo team. The future is yours..."
Stuyven is trying to keep his feet on the ground, even though he has quickly been tagged as the next great thing for the cobbled Classics.
"Will I be the next leader after Cancellara in the Tour of Flanders? Fabian has a much greater palmares than I have. In comparison, I've only won one semi-classic," Stuyven told Belgian television show Van Gils & Guests.
"To be honest I've never really been a fan of being compared with Boonen and Cancellara. I'm just Jasper Stuyven, not the new Boonen or Cancellara. And I don't really care if my results can be as impressive as Boonen's. I just want to win great races."
While Stuyven professional palmares is still lacking major victories, he is clearly talented and has the pedigree to be one of the best Classics riders of his generation. He beat Arnaud Demare to win the junior world road race title in 2009 and won the Junior Paris-Roubaix in 2010. He wisely spent 2012 and 2013 riding for Axel Merckx's development team in the USA and only turned professional in 2014 with Trek Factory Racing. He has the physique to fight for victory in the Classics and the speed to win in the sprints.
Next up: Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and his 2017 contract
Stuyven took his first ever professional victory on stage eight of the Vuelta a España last year. It was another sign of his ability to suffer and win. He crashed and broke his scaphoid during the stage which resulted in him being the last rider to make a split over the final climb of the stage but the first rider over the line in Murcia. He had to abandon the following day but had proved his ability to the world and to himself.
Following his success at home in Belgium, he will head to Italy for Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico in pursuit of more success and more form for the Classics. This time he will ride alongside Cancellara in the Swiss rider's final Classics campaign.
"It will be my job to be in the final of the Tour of Flanders but for now the focus is on the next races," he explained, confirming his race programme.
Stuyven’s contract with Trek-Segafredo ends this year and so his victory at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and his confirmation as a Classics contender comes just at the right time. With Cancellara retiring after 2017, Tom Boonen also close to the end of his career and the likes of Philippe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet all out of contract, Stuyven knows he well placed to chose the best possible team for his future. As a result he is in no rush to say if he will stay at Trek-Segafredo.
"My contract ending means that it is not certain that I will stay aboard Trek-Segafredo but now it's much too early to speculate about that," he said.
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