Rising Belgian star Remco Evenepoel bounced back from his disappointing major tour debut to win the Baloise Belgium Tour on Sunday as Mark Cavendish sprinted to victory in the fifth and final stage. Cavendish overtook in-form Belgian Tim Merlier in a back-and-forth final sprint with German Pascal Ackerman third, to claim a 151st career victory. Both Cavendish, a 36-year-old Manxman, and the 21-year-old Evenepoel ride for Belgian team Deceuninck.
Local teams and riders has a good week. The mass finish in Beringen left the top three places in the overall classification unchanged, with an entirely Belgian podium. Evenepoel finished 46 seconds ahead of his Deceuninck Quick Step teammate, Yves Lampaert, with Gianni Marchand, who rides for Belgian team Tarteletto-Isorex, third.
Evenepoel was seriously injured in a crash at the Giro di Lombardia on August 15, 2020, and only made his return to competition for the Giro d’Italia, dropping out after the 17th stage.
“After my comeback and my long, long rehabilitation, hard training and a lot of setbacks as well, it feels amazing,” Evenepoel said. “It shows I’m on the right track to return to my top level.”
He said he plans to compete in Belgian time trial and road race championships, train, “maybe in Spain”, and then head to Japan for the Olympics.
|1||CAVENDISH Mark||Deceuninck – Quick Step||3:50:31|
|3||ACKERMANN Pascal||BORA – hansgrohe||0:00|
|4||GROENEWEGEN Dylan||Team Jumbo-Visma||0:00|
|5||BOUHANNI Nacer||Team Arkéa Samsic||0:00|
|6||COQUARD Bryan||B&B Hotels p/b KTM||0:00|
|7||WEEMAES Sasha||Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise||0:00|
|8||BONIFAZIO Niccolò||Team Total Direct Energie||0:00|
|9||EWAN Caleb||Lotto Soudal||0:00|
|10||VAN POPPEL Danny||Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux||0:00|
|1||EVENEPOEL Remco||Deceuninck – Quick Step||15:41:59|
|2||LAMPAERT Yves||Deceuninck – Quick Step||0:46|
|3||MARCHAND Gianni||Tarteletto – Isorex||0:56|
|4||FISHER-BLACK Finn||Team Jumbo-Visma||1:04|
|5||SCHELLING Ide||BORA – hansgrohe||1:08|
|6||BOUWMAN Koen||Team Jumbo-Visma||1:08|
|7||SWIFT Connor||Team Arkéa Samsic||1:12|
|9||AERTS Toon||Baloise – Trek Lions||1:13|
|10||DE BUYST Jasper||Lotto Soudal||1:18|
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini