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Devolder solos to third Belgian road race title

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Stijn Devolder takes his third career Belgian road title

Stijn Devolder takes his third career Belgian road title (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Stijn Devolder (Radioshack) wins the 2013 Belgian road race title

Stijn Devolder (Radioshack) wins the 2013 Belgian road race title (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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The 2013 Belgian RR podium: Gianni Meersman, Stijn Devolder and Jan Bakelants

The 2013 Belgian RR podium: Gianni Meersman, Stijn Devolder and Jan Bakelants (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Stijn Devolder (Radioshack)

Stijn Devolder (Radioshack) (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Jan Bakelandts (Lotto Belisol) rode to a podium placing

Jan Bakelandts (Lotto Belisol) rode to a podium placing (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Cyclo-cross racer Kevin Pauwels had a strong finish today

Cyclo-cross racer Kevin Pauwels had a strong finish today (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Stijn Devolder (Radioshack) steps onto the podium

Stijn Devolder (Radioshack) steps onto the podium (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Vacansoleil sets the pace

Vacansoleil sets the pace (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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The early breakaway

The early breakaway (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Stijn Devolder (Radioshack) is back on top after a three year drought

Stijn Devolder (Radioshack) is back on top after a three year drought (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Stijn Devolder (Radioshack) on his winning breakaway

Stijn Devolder (Radioshack) on his winning breakaway (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC) pushes the pace

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) pushes the pace (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Gianni Meersman rides to second place

Gianni Meersman rides to second place (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil)

Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil) (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Stijn Devolder goes flat out to victory in the Belgian road championship

Stijn Devolder goes flat out to victory in the Belgian road championship (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Omega Pharma Quickstep had three men in the early move

Omega Pharma Quickstep had three men in the early move (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Gianni Meersman, Stijn Devolder and Jan Bakelandts

Gianni Meersman, Stijn Devolder and Jan Bakelandts (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Jan Ghyselynck

Jan Ghyselynck (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Stijn Devolder (RadioShack) celebrates his first win since his last Belgian title in 2010

Stijn Devolder (RadioShack) celebrates his first win since his last Belgian title in 2010 (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil)

Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil) (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Stijn Devolder (RadioShack) rediscovered his "full gas" setting in La Roche

Stijn Devolder (RadioShack) rediscovered his "full gas" setting in La Roche (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Laurens De Vrees (Topsport Vlaanderen)

Laurens De Vrees (Topsport Vlaanderen) (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Francis De Greef (Lotto Belisol)

Francis De Greef (Lotto Belisol) (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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The climbs of La Roche put the hurt on the Belgian peloton

The climbs of La Roche put the hurt on the Belgian peloton (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) played his hand in the early breakaway

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) played his hand in the early breakaway (Image credit: Photopress.be)
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(Image credit: Photopress.be)

Outsider Stijn Devolder (Radioshack-Leopard) grabbed his third title at the Belgian national championships in La Roche-en-Ardenne on Sunday afternoon. After sixteen laps on a hilly course the 33 year-old clearly outmatched his rivals, arriving solo one minute ahead of Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and Bakelants (Radioshack-Leopard). When crossing the line Devolder paid tribute to his deceased friend Wouter Weylandt.

Devolder won his first title in Ronse 2007 and his second in Leuven 2010. Pre-race favourites Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) and world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) didn't have anything left when Devolder powered away at 25km from the finish. Defending champion Tom Boonen tried his luck in an early move but didn't feature when the finale got underway.

Already during the Spring Classics it was clear Devolder had the national championships on his mind. http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/devolder-concludes-spring-classics-with-fun-race-at-brabantse-pijl Back then he already realized that he had to ride smart in order to win as his team lacked the numbers to control the race.

"I had to be smart but also time my move well," Devolder said. "This is great. I was well prepared for this race. I was hiding well during the last few races because I didn't want to become a favourite. I can't believe that I'm Belgian champion." To his own surprise Devolder wasn't featured in the Radioshack-Leopard selection for the Tour de France last week. "This isn't an answer to that. I just wanted to win today. It's an important day for me."

Also during the race Devolder had been hiding well. When Tom Boonen went up the road with teammates Pieter Serry and Dries Devenyns, along with Bart Declercq (Lotto-Belisol), during the third of sixteen laps it was Vacansoleil-DCM and Crelan-Euphony who kept their move at around two minutes. Strong moves from men like Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) and Gilbert at 80km from the finish eventually neutralized the breakaway move at five laps from the finish.

Twenty kilometres later a group of 18 riders sneaked away in three steps. The group eventually featured Van Keirsbulck, Serge Pauwels and Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), De Gendt and Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM), Devolder and Bakelants (Radioshack-Leopard), Gaetan Bille and Gert Dockx (Lotto-Belisol), Maxime Vantomme (Crelan-Euphony), Thomas Degand (Accent Jobs-Wanty), Laurens Devreese (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco), Kevin Seeldrayers (Astana) and cyclo-cross rider Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games). Jurgen Roelandts tried to get back on his own but he fell short. At 50km from the finish the rest of the peloton was out of contention too.

Bakelants, De Gendt and Seeldrayers made Omega Pharma-Quickstep work hard with a new attack, but with two laps to go the 18 riders were back together. The attack from Bille didn't create much damage but at 25 kilometres from the finish Devolder blasted away on the big ring. He went up and over Bille and in no time he collected a gap of half a minute.

In the background Omega Pharma-Quickstep ran out of numbers as Pauwels and Van Keirsbulck didn't have enough energy left in their tank to keep Devolder under control. Three kilometres later the two Omega Pharma-Quickstep boys were gone and Devolder had 50s. Several attacks followed but no organized chase. With one lap to go the gap was up to 1:06 on eleven chasers. More attacks followed with all riders on their limit but clearly the focus was on second place. Meersman got the better from Bakelants, Leukemans, Vanmarcke, Van Avermaet, Gilbert and Van den Broeck.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard5:46:19
2Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:57
3Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard0:00:59
4Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
5Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
6Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:03
7Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:01:05
8Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:01:11
9Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:02:13
10Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
11Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony0:02:15
12Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
13Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team0:02:24
14Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:05:12
15Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana Pro Team0:05:14
16Thomas Degand (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty0:05:16
17Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:05:30
DNFTom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
DNFKevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
DNFDries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
DNFNikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
DNFPieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
DNFGert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
DNFKristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
DNFSander Cordeel (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFBart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFFrancis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFKenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFGert Dockx (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFOlivier Kaisen (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFMaarten Neyens (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFFrederique Robert (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFJurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFJurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFTosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFJonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFDennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFTim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFFrederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol
DNFYannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team
DNFFrédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFVincent Baestaens (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFKoen Barbe (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFJonathan Breyne (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFKevin Claeys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFSébastien Delfosse (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFGilles Devillers (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFKurt Hovelynck (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFKevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFBaptiste Plackaert (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFChristophe Premont (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFStijn Steels (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFKlaas Sys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFSven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
DNFSander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFJasper De Buyst (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFKenny De Ketele (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFTim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFPieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFYves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFTim Mertens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFStijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFTom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFPreben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFGijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFMichael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFKenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFSven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFArthur Van Overberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFJelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFSteven Caethoven (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
DNFTim De Troyer (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
DNFJérôme Gilbert (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
DNFGregory Habeaux (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
DNFRoy Jans (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
DNFStaf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
DNFJurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
DNFKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
DNFJames Vanlandschoot (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
DNFBenjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent Jobs-Wanty
DNFMaxime Anciaux (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFQuentin Bertholet (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFOlivier Chevalier (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFJonathan De Witte (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFAntoine Demoitie (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFTom Dernies (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFBoris Dron (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFJonathan Dufrasne (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFLaurent Evrard (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFChristian Patron (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFFabio Polazzi (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFJulien Stassen (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFJustin Van Hoecke (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
DNFJoeri Adams (Bel) Telenet Fidea
DNFTom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea
DNFRob Peeters (Bel) Telenet Fidea
DNFBart Wellens (Bel) Telenet Fidea
DNFJim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team
DNFKlaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team
DNFMaxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack Leopard
DNFKris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNFWillem Wauters (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNFOlivier Pardini (Bel) Verandas Willems
DNFFloris Smeyers (Bel) Verandas Willems
DNFNiels Vandyck (Bel) Verandas Willems
DNFJan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFNico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFRomain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFMaarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
DNFWietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
DNFDieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
DNFSébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Sharp
DNFJohan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin-Sharp
DNFKevin Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling
DNFKristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling
DNFJan Denuwelaere (Bel)
DNFBert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano
DNFKevin Hulsmans (Bel) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
DNFJens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge
DNFBart Aernouts (Bel)
DNFDavid Boucher (Fra) FDJ
DNFSteve Bekaert (Bel) Burgos BH-Castilla y Leon
DNFKevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk
DNFThomas Raeymaekers (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk

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