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Laurens De Plus has put himself in the spotlight in the tough Ardennes stage in the BinckBank Tour. The Belgian was the most combative rider in the stage and eventually finished third in a sprint with three riders that was won by Tim Wellens. De Plus has also moved up to third place in the overall standings. In Mike Teunissen, Team Jumbo-Visma has a second rider in the top ten. The Dutchman is now fifth.
In the short Ardennes stage around Houffalize, the attacks started from the beginning. Team Jumbo-Visma took control of the race like in the previous days and rode a tight pace on the climbs. De Plus attacked a number of times, but the decisive attack came thirty kilometres from the finish when only Marc Hirschi and Tim Wellens were able to follow. In the final kilometres, De Plus tried to surprise his companions, but could not get away.
"I am very happy with this result", De Plus said. “It is the first time that I am a GC leader in the team and I really looked forward to this stage. As a team, we tried to make the race as hard as possible. That is ideal for me. At a given moment, everyone was riding really full throttle. I attacked a few times, but I'm not explosive enough to beat those guys in the sprint."
With three more stages to go, De Plus is already looking ahead to the weekend. “I am already looking forward to Saturday's time trial and hopefully I can make up some time there with an eye on the Geraardsbergen stage on Sunday. I live nearby, so I know the roads very well."
Sports director Jan Boven had seen a very strong team performance. “I have to compliment the entire team. What they showed today was impressive. To race like that on such a course was of a high level. The intention was to make the race as hard as possible. We succeeded in that. Laurens attacked a few times, but it was not possible to get away solo. In Mike, who is in fifth place overall, we have several cards to play in the next days. In addition, it is good to see how Timo is on his way back after several setbacks. He was really strong today.”