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Mauro Schmid wins overall title at Baloise Tour of Belgium

QuickStep-AlphaVinyl celebrated a double victory on the final day of racing at the Baloise Belgium Tour as Fabio Jakobsen won stage 5 from the group sprint in Beringen and Mauro Schmid grabbed the overall victory.

There was controversy surrounding the final GC outcome, however, as second-placed Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), riding on same time as Schmid, appeared to get blocked in, and bumped, by QuickStep’s Yves Lampaert in the decisive third Golden Kilometre sprint with under 6km to go in the race. The points went to Schmid instead and gave him the cushion he needed to prevent Wellens from overtaking him for the overall win. 

“Yeah, this cost me the victory at the Tour of Belgium. I’m disappointed,” Wellens said at the finish. 

Schmid said at the finish that he was not aware of the situation in the final sprint. "I don’t know what happened, I didn’t see it. But I think both our teams gave everything we had to take the seconds," he said.

It was the first general classification title for the 22-year-old Schmid. Wellens was second overall and Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) was third.

“I think the team did a great job the whole day keeping me in place. And then also in the sprints, especially Michael [Mørkøv], he has a lot of experience, and in the end I think I also won because of him,” Schmid said at the finish. 

“It’s something special. When you win a stage race and after five days we were still in the same second, it was always very close. It was very exciting racing here.”

At the front of the race, Jakobsen’s acceleration on the outside in the closing 100 metres vaulted him past Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), who finished second, and Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) took third.

Bora-Hansgrohe led the peloton under the final kilometre kite, but their sprinter Sam Bennett was off the podium in fourth.

The opening third of the race from Gingelom was quiet with attacks not beginning in earnest until 60 kilometres were covered. Seven riders amassed at the front group - Timo De Jong (VolkerWessels Cycling Team), Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) Jenthe Biermans (Israel-Premier Tech), Julien Morice (B&B Hotels-KTM), Martin Urianstad (Uno-X), Marco Tizza (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB) and Ryan Christensen (Bolton Equities Black Spoke).

After the intermediate sprint in Montenaken with 81km to go, Theuns attacked at the front to shake up proceedings but no one seemed interested and the peloton soon made the catch. 

The first finishing circuit began with 67km remaining and Gianni Marchand (Tarteletto-Isorex) was the first rider to scamper from the pack to ignite several more attacks. Five riders managed to escape with 50km to go - Urianstad for a second time along with teammate Jonas Abrahamsen and joined by Ludovic Robeet (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Angelo Van Den Bosschen (Geofco-Doltcini Materiel Velo.com) and Kobe Vanoverschelde (Tarteletto-Isorex).

The quintet held together for until the closing 6km the breakaway of five, as the sprinters’ teams began to attack for the Golden Kilometre sections, positioned before 5.2km from the line. It was then supposed to be mano-a-mano for the top points at the Golden Kilometre between the two GC leaders, but Wellens did not get clear sailing to match up against Schmid in the end.

QuickStep had focused on the GC battle, and was happy for a double-dose of wins for the stage and overall.

“The general classification was more important and the team went for it today, because they had faith in me that I could do the sprint on my own. The last lap was like a criterium and I was in a good position at all times as we got closer and closer to the finish. Then, with 100-150 meters to go, I launched my sprint and I got this victory that I really wanted and which gives me a lot of confidence for the next races," said Jakobsen.

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Jackie has been involved in professional sports for more than 30 years in news reporting, sports marketing and public relations. She founded Peloton Sports in 1998, a sports marketing and public relations agency, which managed projects for Tour de Georgia, Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Cycling. She also founded Bike Alpharetta Inc, a Georgia non-profit to promote safe cycling. She is proud to have worked in professional baseball for six years - from selling advertising to pulling the tarp. She has climbed l'Alpe d'Huez three times (not fast). Her favorite road rides are around horse farms in north Georgia (USA) and around lavender fields in Provence (France), and some mtb rides in Park City, Utah (USA).

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