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"It was a very dangerous stage with three categorized climbs. A sprint finish was actually perfect for me. We will try to do our best to keep our momentum. Now I really believe in the overall win," Helven says

Photo: A.S.O. / Pascal Perreve

ETOILE DE BESSÈGES

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TEAM FLANDERS - BALOISE

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07.02.2014 @ 20:39 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sander Helven (Topsport Vlaanderen) survived his first big challenge as race leader in the Etoile de Besseges when he finished in the bunch on today's hilly stage of the race. Having seen that he can keep up with the best on the climbs, the young Belgian now starts to believe that he can take the overall win.

 

When young Sander Helven took the leader's jersey after getting into the right breakaway on the first stage of the Etoile de Besseges, his rivals were a bit uncertain about what to expect from the new leader. After all, he had been hampered by illness in most of his first professional season and so very few knew exactly what he was capable of.

 

Helven himself had similar doubts but he had a greatly boosted confidence when he returned to the hotel after today's 3rd stage. The route had been the hardest yet and included three passages of the Col de Trelys but Helven had managed to stay with the favourites on the stage that was ultimately won by Bryan Coquard (Europcar) in a reduced bunch sprint.

 

Tomorrow the riders face the queen stage which includes two passages of a very steep climb inside the final 30km and the GC will be decided in the final day's 11km time trial. Despite the challenges ahead, Helven now starts to believe that he can win the race overall.

 

"It was a tough day but I am happy to keep the jersey for one more day," he told Directvelo. "It was a very dangerous stage with three categorized climbs. A sprint finish was actually perfect for me. We will try to do our best to keep our momentum. Now I really believe in the overall win."

 

Helven goes into the queen stage with a 5-second lead over Benoit Jarrier (Bretagne).

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