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Debusschere wins the Belgian national road race

Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Belisol) was the surprise winner of the 2014 Belgian championships in Wielsbeke on Sunday. In a bunch sprint in front of the Quickstep headquarters, 24-year-old Debusschere held off Roy Jans (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) and pre-race favourite Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma- Quickstep) to grab his first win of the season, and his fourth professional victory.

"It's a cliché but this is a dream coming through. I worked two or three months towards this race. I did altitude training and slept in a tent which I cursed every night. Then it's magnificent to grab this title," Debusschere said on Sporza after coming off a phone call with teammate Jurgen Van Den Broeck.

"Jurgen Roelandts started the sprint perfectly for me by finding a gap on the right. The wind came from the left and we were on the right. The race unfolded perfectly for us. Kris and Kenny were our fast men up front. With three laps to go I doubted whether it would be a bunch sprint. Going into the last lap I talked with Jurgen and he said he had the jersey before and he would work for me. We’re good buddies. We’re both working for each other. Whatever race I win after today, this will remain a highlight."

The bunch sprint was expected but until 400 metres from the finish line an eight-man breakaway group managed to hold off the peloton. The Omega Pharma – Quickstep team banked on Gert Steegmans in that lead group while Lotto-Belisol counted on Kris Boeckmans.

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) didn't have the teammates to control the race but by featuring in the lead group he rode the perfect race. At 5 kilometres from the finish Vanmarcke tried to ride away from his breakaway companions and hold off the peloton that was on their heels. Vanmarcke’s move was neutralized and the group sped towards the finish line with the peloton led by Omega Pharma – Quickstep.

Boonen criticizes team

Boonen was fuming after the race about the lack of communication in his team.

"Our team directors made serious mistakes and then we made mistakes too. At 6km from the finish we suddenly get the signal to work in the peloton. We closed the gap but then they led out the sprint on the left while I was shouting to go on the right. The guys behind me were freewheeling. The man who would start the sprint would hold it," Boonen said on Sporza.

"We had good guys up front but we knew nothing. A fast man up front would be protected and that’s what we did. We really have to talk. This can only happen once. We just have to communicate. At the classics there's people with signposts so why not today."

The early break forms

Despite starting the race in miserable weather conditions several riders were keen on going in the attack on the completely flat course in Wielsbeke in the West-Flanders province of Belgium. After 20km of racing twelve riders formed a first breakaway move, featuring Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Boris Vallée and Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Belisol), Iljo Keisse and Pieter Serry (Omega Pharma – Quickstep), Kristof Vandewalle (Trek Factory Team), Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty - Groupe Gobert), David Boucher (, Jonas Rickaert and Arthur Vanoverberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise), Frederic Amorison and Antoine Demoitié (Wallonie-Bruxelles). Their lead grew up to
nearly five minutes.

Despite their presence up front Wanty – Groupe Gobert worked hard to keep the breakaway move under control. Their efforts seemed in vain as the strong men up front didn’t allow them to get any closer. That was until the Omega Pharma – Quickstep team moved in. Wanty – Groupe Gobert closed the final gap and with 65km to go the race could start again.

A new breakaway move was quickly formed and once again featured Van der Sande but also Stig Broeckx, Kris Boeckmans and Kenny De Haes for Lotto-Belisol, Julien Vermote and Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma – Quickstep), Stijn Steels and Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise) and Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin).

In the peloton the riders from the Wanty - Groupe Gobert and Wallonie-Bruxelles once again tried to keep the breakaway group under
control. Just before hitting the penultimate laps the lead group lost Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Belisol) but still held a gap of one minute over the peloton that was no longer led by the Wanty – Groupe Gobert riders, with Philippe Gilbert (BMC) upping the pace.

When hitting the final lap there were only eight riders left in front with a gap of 43 seconds on the peloton. Philippe Gilbert kept firing attacks, but with little success. Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Greenedge) had a go as well and with 7km to go the leaders were only 20 seconds ahead of the unleashed peloton.

Omega Pharma – Quickstep switched tactics and worked in the peloton to set up a bunch sprint. In front Sep Vanmarcke attacked with just over 5km to go.

"It wasn’t a hard race. There was a bit of rain this morning and I hoped it would be the same all day long. Too bad that after 30km of racing it was over. That bridge was the only part of the course where I could get a gap. I was waiting for another moment to launch an attack but the pace didn’t drop so I hoped to do the sprint but then the peloton was there," Vanmarcke told Sporza.

Going into the last kilometre the gap was down to eight seconds with Wallays doing the hard work in front. It would be very tight for the leaders to survive but with 400m to go they were swarmed by the peloton. In that sprint Jurgen Roelandts led out Jens Debusschere. To his right he held off Boonen and Yves Lampaert (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise) while Roy Jans fell short on his left side.


Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol)5:21:38
2Roy Jans (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
3Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
4Michael van Staeyen (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
5Yves Lampaert (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
6Jasper Stuyven (Trek Factory Racing)
7Louis Verhelst (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits)
8Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Belisol)
9Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team)
10Maxime Vantomme (Roubaix Lille Métropole)
11Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol)
12Jens Keukeleire (Orica GreenEdge)
13Jonas Vangenechten (Lotto Belisol)
14Jarl Salomein (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
15Sven Vanthourenhout
16Tom van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
17Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
18Timothy Dupont (Roubaix Lille Métropole)
19Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin-Pro Cycling Team)
20Tim de Troyer (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
21Baptiste Planckaert (Roubaix Lille Métropole)
22Nicolas Vereecken (Verandas Willems)
23Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
24Wietse Bosmans (BKCP - Powerplus)
25Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol)
26Stijn Steels (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
27Gijs van Hoecke (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
28Stig Broeckx (Lotto Belisol)
29Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
30Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
31Bjorn Leukemans (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
32Julien Vermote (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
33Laurens de Vreese (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
34Ben Hermans (BMC Racing Team)
35Victor Campenaerts (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
36Robin Stenuit (Wallonie - Bruxelles)
37Olivier Pardini (Verandas Willems)
38James Vanlandschoot (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
39Gaetan Bille (Verandas Willems)
40Sebastien Delfosse (Wallonie - Bruxelles)
41Preben van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
42Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
43Tom Dernies (Wallonie - Bruxelles)
44Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team)
45Johan Vansummeren (Garmin Sharp)
46Sander Helven (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
47Gert Dockx (Lotto Belisol)
48Zico Waeytens (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
49Romain Zingle (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits)
50Dries Devenyns (Team Giant-Shimano)
51Frederik Willems (Lotto Belisol)
52Frédérique Robert (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
53Maarten Wynants (Belkin-Pro Cycling Team)
54Sven Nys
55Eliot Lietaer (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
56Sean de Bie (Lotto Belisol)
57Yannick Eijssen (BMC Racing Team)
58Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
59Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol)
60Thomas Sprengers (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
61Guillaume van Keirsbulck (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
62Jim Aernouts (Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team)
63Wout van Aert (Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace)
64Jasper de Buyst (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
65Sander Armée (Lotto Belisol)
66Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing)
67Dieter Vanthourenhout (Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team)
68Laurent Evrard (Wallonie - Bruxelles)
69Frédéric Amorison (Wallonie - Bruxelles)
70Nick Nuyens (Garmin Sharp)0:00:33
71Arthur Vanoverberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)0:00:37
72David Boucher (
73Jérôme Gilbert (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
74Floris Smeyers (Verandas Willems)
75Kevyn Ista (IAM Cycling)
76Iljo Keisse (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
77Jan Ghyselinck (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
78Pieter Serry (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
79Frederik Backaert (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)0:00:55
80Vergaerde Otto (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)0:00:58
81Dennis Vanendert (Lotto Belisol)0:01:02
82Bart Wellens (Telenet - Fidea)0:01:07
83Francis de Greef (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
84Kenny de Ketele (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
85Bart de Clercq (Lotto Belisol)
86Maxime Anciaux (Wallonie - Bruxelles)
87Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
88Kevin Seeldraeyers (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
89Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
90Tom Meeusen (Telenet - Fidea)
91Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)0:01:20
92Christophe Premont (Wallonie - Bruxelles)0:01:56
93Jerome Baugnies (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)0:02:05
94Kevin de Weert (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)0:02:30
95Moreno de Pauw (Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise)
96Gregory Habeaux (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)0:02:48
97Kevin de Mesmaeker (Team Novo Nordisk)0:04:21
98Nico Sijmens (Wanty - Groupe Gobert)
99Joeri Adams (Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace)
100Quentin Bertholet (Wallonie - Bruxelles)
101Julien Stassen (Wallonie - Bruxelles)0:05:55
102Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team)
103Antoine Demoitie (Wallonie - Bruxelles)0:06:47
104Florent Mottet (Wallonie - Bruxelles)

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