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"I was lucky to find an open spot at Roubaix and I am grateful to the managers of the team that have allowed me to continue doing my job as a professional cyclist," Vantomme says

Photo: Team Katusha




05.03.2014 @ 20:47 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

A few months ago, Maxime Vantomme faced the prospect of a premature end to his career when his Crelan-Euphony team folded but he was thrown a lifeline by the small Roubaix-Lille Metropole team. Today he paid back the favour when he took a big win for the continental team as he beat the WorldTour stars in Le Samyn.


At the end of the 2013 season, many riders had to end their careers earlier than planned as the demise of five professional teams made it impossible for them to find new homes. One of the riders who feared that it was time to hang up the wheels was Maxime Vantomme whose Crelan-Euphony team was one of the teams to fold.


The Belgian managed to save his career but he had to step down to continental level at the Roubaix-Lille Metropole team and was forced to do a completely different race programme to what he was used to. Today he showed that he still has the capabilities to ride against the best when he won the uphill sprint in the Wallonian season opener, Le Samyn.


"I was lucky to find an open spot at Roubaix and I am grateful to the managers of the team that have allowed me to continue doing my job as a professional cyclist," he told RTBF


For several years, Vantomme was a trusted domestique at Katusha but he matured while riding as one of the leaders at Crelan.


"I think 2013 was my best season since my professional debut," he said. In the past, I had been used to work for others in the sprints but I learned to play may card and gained strength and experience.


"I like the hard races and finish lines on false flats like here in Dour. I was ideally placed in 5th with 200m to go when I decided to do my effort and open the sprint. I knew the finish in Dour. To win there is a way for me to return the favour of my team who trusted me fully. I had a very good winter, I'm in good condition and I used the recent Tour Mediteraneen and Tour du Haut-Var to fine-tune my condition."


Prior to today, Vantomme only had one professional win, a stage of the 2008 Tropicale Amissa Bongo.


"My victory at the GP Samyn is obviously the best of my career," he said. "I am only 27 years old and have 7 years of professional experience. I think I can still achieve great things in the future."


Vantomme will next line up in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen on Friday before doing a predominantly French program.


"I wish I could do the classics in Belgium but I have to follow the program of Roubaix-Lille Metropole," he said. "I will do the Classic Loire Atlantique, the GP Cholet and other Coupe de France races."



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