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by Shane Stokes
September 21, 2017
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Belgian rider Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) beat his compatriot Maarten Wynants (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and Dutchman Brian Van Goethem (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) at the end of the Omloop van het Houtland in Belgium on Wednesday. The trio finished eight seconds ahead of a peloton led in by Andre Griepel (Lotto-Soudal) and Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb).
The 195.3 kilometre race began and finished in Lichtervelde and saw an early break by John Mandrysch (Leopard Pro Cycling) and Hans Kristian Rudland (Uno-X Hydrogen Development Team). These were joined by a group of chasers, leading to a 41-man front group.
The selection was 40 seconds ahead of a chasing group crossing the finish line for the first time, but things came back together with just over 50 kilometres left. The decisive move with Devriendt, Van Goethem and Wynants got clear with 35 kilometres to go, opening a 40 second gap.
While the peloton chased hard and closed this down considerably before the line, it ran out of time. Devriendt was best in the gallop, taking the 1.1-ranked race. “At this moment I did not expect a first victory, although I felt very strong over the past two weeks,” he said. “That is why I also slipped into the breakaway in GP de Wallonie and Primus Classic.
“I am especially grateful to the team that in all the difficult times they kept confidence in me during the past year. After knee surgeries in January and February I restarted competition too fast in mid April. Conditionally I didn’t go well that time but also mentally I was rather deep. Not that I would stop cycling, but I thought about it for a while. I had a two-year contract, which was not easy for the team. It was a difficult period, but the team never stopped giving me confidence.”