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"I am very happy. It was not the plan of the team to play my card today. Usually, we would ride for Meersman. But after Oude Kwuaremont I saw an opening."

Photo: © Etixx - Quick-Step / Tim de Waele

DECEUNINCK - QUICK-STEP

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DRIEDAAGSE VAN WEST-VLAANDEREN

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YVES LAMPAERT

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07.03.2015 @ 20:13 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Yves Lampaert earned his first victory in an Etixx - Quick-Step jersey on Saturday, winning 174.1km Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Stage 1 out of a five rider breakaway. The Belgian rider also finished 5th in the prologue, leaving him just 8" outside the race lead going into the stage. Because of his victory he also is the new race leader.

Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) was 2nd, and Sander Cordeel (Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace) finished 3rd.

Lampaert and his four break mates formed the selection out of a much larger group, including Etixx - Quick-Step teammates Lukasz Wisniowski and Martin Velits. The large group had an advantage with 57km to go in the race, and then were brought back. But the five riders then went away on the first lap of a 4-lap circuit of 9.9 kilometers.

Lampaert also has the lead in the points classification, and best young rider competition. Etixx - Quick-Step leads the team classification.

Gianni Meersman finished 7th.

Lampaert's stage win is the 14th road win for Etixx - Quick-Step.

"I'm very happy I won in Harelbeke," Lampaert said. "It's 5 kilometers from where I live, so it's a really big moment for me. It was a tough race. When we passed on the Oude Kwaremont we were on the front pushing the pace and we entered a breakaway with 14 or 15 riders. I was there with Wisniowski and Velits. We tried to stay in front but the peloton caught us just before the final circuit started. But on the first lap I went for the bonification and as a consequence of this acceleration we were in front with five riders. So at that point we started pulling. I thought it would be hard to pull off, but we made it to the end.

 

"In the last kilometer Cordeel attacked. Van der Sande then started his sprint really early to close the gap, and I was on his wheel. I started my sprint at 200 meters to go and was able to pass him.

 

"It is my greatest victory. It beats the Arhem Veenendaal Classic because I have a lot of fans here. I am very happy. It was not the plan of the team to play my card today. Usually, we would ride for Meersman. But after Oude Kwuaremont I saw an opening. We did not think that we would stay in front. I was already glad I took bonus second. But as the agreement was excellent, we stayed away. I'm normally not a sprinter but after a tough race, I'm not slow. The goal now is to keep this jersey. In the team, there are qualities and we know the course.
 

"This is also a special day because I want to dedicate this victory to Philippe Van Dorpe, who died not long ago. He was the race organizer but also one of my sponsors as an Under-23 rider. He was even a good friend of the team. So this win is for him.

 

"Concerning tomorrow, we will try to do everything to keep the leader's jersey. It won't be easy with an unpredictable race on a parcours that includes climbs like the Kemmelberg, but the goal is to defend my as the overall leader."

Iljo Keisse crashed on the Oude Kwaremont. He will be further evaluated and more information will be available tomorrow.

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