After fifth place on stage 5, and third on stage six, Jasper Stuyven finally got his stage win at the BinckBank Tour. In the process of taking his first win in 2017, the Belgian also secured his first ever poduium finish at a WorldTour stage race.
A Vuelta a Espana stage winner in 2015 and solo victor at Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne in 2016, the 25-year-old Trek-Segafredo rider had come close on numerous occasions to a win in 2017. Stuyven made his winning move with a late attack on the final stage, which included the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen, to arrive solo in Geraardsbergen with an empty tank. Philippe Gilbert led the chasers home one second in arrears
After his victory celebration, Stuyven slumped to the ground before the congratulatory hugs. Stuyven explained post-stage that his move was built on instinct and nothing to lose in rolling the dice.
"I didn't plan the attack, I went with the moment," said Stuyven. "I was near the front on the last climb and saw some gaps were opening and so I decided to just go for it. I actually didn't feel that good today, but I knew that everyone was probably feeling the same after such a hard week of racing, so I just decided to try," Stuyven said.
"I didn't know how much time I had, I just told myself to just go all-in and not think of anything else. I still felt I had something left for the uphill, and I looked back with 150meters to go - I probably looked back a little too much - but then I knew that I was going to hold it. The final 200meters were really hard; I was completely empty after the finish."
After the final stage, Stuyven finished 46 seconds down on Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).
The win capped off a successful week of racing for Trek-Segafredo as the squad also enjoyed success with Edward Theuns' stage 4 victory and victory in the team classification.
"The whole team worked well again, all week, and today Mads (Pedersen) was a machine. We came here with ambitions for the GC for me and Edward (Theuns) with the sprint," said Stuyven. "In the first stages I helped Edward out, which resulted in a victory for him, and then the team protected me very well in the last three days. I was always there, and I could move up in the GC, but I also could take a stage win," said Stuyven, then added: "It was a great week with great teamwork."
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