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Olav Kooij has just missed out on victory in the Gooikse Pijl. Jasper Philipsen beat the Jumbo-Visma sprinter on the streets of Gooik.
The twentieth edition of the Gooikse Pijl ended in a bunch sprint. Six riders tried to prevent a sprint, but the peloton caught them on the final lap.
The final saw the peloton split into two. Kooij seemed to have missed the battle, but thanks to his teammates, he was brought back into the lead group. A bunch sprint ensued, and Kooij narrowly lost out to Philipsen.
"We couldn't do the lead-out we wanted"
"It was close", Kooij said. "I had to come from afar, although I don't think that was an immediate disadvantage on this course. I could ride my sprint, and unfortunately, one rider was just faster. We'll have to make do with that."
Kooij pointed out that the final went differently than expected. "When the lead group got closer, some teams thought something was possible. I was in the second group, but in the end, everything came together, and we could sprint."
Race coach Frans Maassen also saw an unexpected final from the team car, with the expected sprint as the outcome. "All the top sprinters were in the second group, but they returned to the front. We lost each other with 2.5 kilometres to go, so we couldn't do the lead-out we wanted. In the end, we had to settle for second place."