Victor Campenaerts (30) has donated important UCI points to Lotto-Soudal in the Tour of Leuven. Campenaerts recorded his first victory in a one-day race in Leuven (not counting time trials and stage victories in stage races). His team colored the race, the hour record holder beat Zdenek Stybar in a sprint with the two of them.
Vanmarcke and Lotto-Soudal join forces
The Tour of Leuven – a nod to the 2021 World Cup – brought many beautiful names to the start, including Zdenek Stybar, Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud De Lie. World champion Julian Alaphilippe was also at the appointment and was only too happy to repeat his World Cup triumph from last year.
Under a radiant sun, a leading group of 5 quickly formed, which was then increased to 9. Although the leaders never really got enough leeway, partly due to the hard work of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.
The peloton had to wait for movement and with 50 kilometers from the finish Vanmarcke threw the bat into the henhouse. Together with a few pawns from Lotto-Soudal and Stybar, a counterattack was put together. There was no longer any question of Alaphilippe.
Lepe Campenaerts surprises Stybar in the sprint
While Vanmarcke and co quickly picked up the early break, the peloton had to give up more and more space. Yet the decisive moment came with 24 kilometers from the finish. Van Moer tried to surprise everyone, but was reassembled by Stybar and Campenaerts.
The Belgian and the Czech went out together and did not look back. Campenaerts seemed like a bird for the cat in the sprint, but Stybar cleverly pushed his head in the final kilometre. The hour record holder came to character next to the Czech and then held on with a strong finishing punch.
Campenaerts also immediately gives Lotto-Soudal important points for the UCI classification.
Campenaerts: “I had confidence in my sprint”
“I really indicated this race. It is a course that I think is fantastic and that I know like the back of my hand. The team was also very motivated and we always had the upper hand,” said Victor Campenaerts in front of the camera.
“I was confident in my sprint, but it’s always difficult. I pushed Stybar in the front because he’s normally the fastest. But I knew I was good.”
“Cycling isn’t just about winning. I realize that as I get older. It also means fun and friendship. For some people it also means entertainment, but in Africa it also means hope.”
“With my previous team, Qhubeka, there is also a project that is separate from cycling. They try to change people’s lives in Africa. Cycling can therefore also provide hope,” concluded the winner of the day.
Stybar: “Got cramp in the last 50 meters”
“I’m sitting here with mixed feelings. I’m very happy that I can race again for the victory after all my health problems,” said Stybar after the race.
“I really enjoyed the race and I also have great memories of this course because of the World Cup. It is of course a shame that I didn’t win, but in the last 50 meters I got cramps. But that’s sport.”
“On paper I may have been faster, but after such a tough race you know
never. That has been proven once again today. Of course Victor was also very strong today,” the Czech admitted.
Kristoff: “You can’t hide on this track”
“Maybe I could have won here, but I didn’t get enough support from the rest in the chase,” said Alexander Kristoff.
“I felt good and also tried to start myself. I feel that I came out of the Tour well. Last year during the World Cup I also learned that you can’t hide on this course, because you have to turn a lot and turn.”
“Staying calmly at the back of the pack is therefore not an option here. That is why I always stayed at the front, because I did not want to make the same mistake as during the World Cup.”
“This is a good start after my Tour break. I still have a lot of racing to go in August. So hopefully I can still show my good legs,” the Norwegian finished.