Roelandts savours most impressive Classics result of his career in Tour of Flanders
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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Roelandts savours most impressive Classics result of his career in Tour of Flanders

by VeloNation Press at 6:55 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour of Flanders
 
Lotto Belisol rider proves he can aim for big victories in the sport’s Monuments

Jurgen RoelandtsTipped beforehand by his team to be one of the riders to watch but overlooked by some in the list of contenders for the race, Jürgen Roelandts had a superb showing in today’s Ronde van Vlaanderen.

The Lotto Belisol rider performed well in the finale and picked up a well deserved third place behind Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) and Cannondale’s Peter Sagan. He finished with the latter, although was no match for the Slovakian in the sprint.

Still, the Belgian was pleased with his third place, which saw him finish ahead of many big names in the sport, and confirmed his position as a rider who is continuing to improve and who can legitimately aim for Classics victory.

Roelandts’ performance came on the back of an attack he made on the second ascent of the Paterberg, when he got clear with Yoann Offredo (FDJ), Sebastian Hinault (IAM Cycling), and Sebastian Turgot (Europcar)

“Beforehand I had said that I wanted to take off before the final passage on the Oude Kwaremont, I had the legs today and decided to go for it. When only three riders joined me I first thought that weren’t many, because it was the right moment for riders from the second line to jump away,” he said afterwards, analysing his race. “But it turned out well for me.”

Roelandts surged clear on the Oude Kwaremont, leaving the others behind. He looked good, but behind Cancellara was thundering up the climb with Sagan on his wheel. They bridged up to the leader, and formed a front group of three.

“It definitely was a fantastic moment when I was riding solo on the final climb of the Oude Kwaremont. When I looked behind and saw two riders approaching, I didn’t have to think long to know who that could be,” Roelandts said. “I kept on believing in it, but I had already done quite an effort, but they had done that as well.”

He rode with the other two but had no answer then the race-winning move went. “It was impressive to see Fabian take off on the Paterberg. I saw that Sagan couldn’t follow him and on the top he wasn’t that far in front of me,” he said. “After the Paterberg I joined Sagan and decided to give everything to be on the podium.”

Roelandts crashed out of the Santos Tour Down Under last year and fractured the C6 vertebra in his neck. He gradually recovered from that and went on to clock up a number good results, including victory in the Tour de l’Eurometropole, a stage in the Tour of Luxembourg, third in the Ster ZLM Toer and seventh in the Olympic road race.

This year he won a stage and was seventh overall in the Tour of the Mediterranean, then went on to net eighth in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Today’s result is his most impressive of 2013, though, and positions him as a rider who could ride very strongly in next weekend’s Paris-Roubaix.

He’ll take considerable encouragement from his podium finish and, at 27 years of age, should have many good results ahead of him this year and beyond.

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