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"With the success of Kenneth [Vanbilsen] and this victory, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise have won the first two races of the year in France ... it is obviously awesome! I hope that we will continue our momentum," Helven says

Photo: A.S.O. / Pascal Perreve




05.02.2014 @ 20:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sander Helven continued the fantastic start to the season for Topsport Vlaanderen when he won the first stage of the Etoile de Besseges from a breakaway. Surprised to have taken the win, the young Belgian now hopes that they will keep up the momentum.


All eyes were on John Degenkolb, Nacer Bouhanni and Bryan Coquard in today's first stage of the Etoile de Besseges but the rider who took the spoils was Sander Helven. With the win, he continued the great start for his Topsport Vlaanderen team that was initiated on Sunday when Kenneth Vanbilsen won the GP La Marseillaise.


The stage appeared to be one for the sprinters but on the rainy day in France the peloton failed to catch the early breakaway where Helven was present. The youngster proved that he has a fast finish when he beat Laurens De Vreese (Wanty) to take the first leader's jersey in the race.


"Even though I have a decent sprint, a breakaway was my only chance to win today," he told Directvelo. "I have good speed but not enough to win a bunch sprint. I know that I can beat a group of 5-10 riders."


Helven was happy to get his season off to a good start after a difficult 2013.


"I hoped to shine in the early season," he said. "Last year I had a lot of problems. I suffered from blood poisoning. It hit me in the first part of the season. I found the sensations in the summer."


Helven is now the first leader of the race but he doesn't take anything for granted.


"Now everything will be a bonus," he said. "This is pure happiness. I am still surprised because I was not feeling well last Sunday, in the Marseillaise. With the success of Kenneth [Vanbilsen] and this victory, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise have won the first two races of the year in France ... it is obviously awesome! I hope that we will continue our momentum."


Tomorrow's stage offers him a good chance to defend the lead as the stage is expected to suit the sprinters.



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