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Van Aert shows form, but is empty-handed after E3 Saxo Bank Classic

Van Aert shows form, but is empty-handed after E3 Saxo Bank Classic

Wout van Aert has finished eleventh in the E3 Saxo Bank Classic. On the final climb, the Tiegemberg, the Team Jumbo-Visma leader attacked as the first of the favourites, but the Fleming had to let go of his competitors at the top.

Team Jumbo-Visma brought the leader in good position, to the decisive hill zone. The race really broke open on the Taaienberg. Van Aert was in good position accompanied by almost all the big names after that climb, but had to drop out a few kilometres later with a puncture. Thanks to the hard work of Pascal Eenkhoorn, Nathan van Hooydonck and Timo Roosen, Van Aert was able to return with a firm intermediate sprint.

“Before the Taaienberg I already felt that the tyre was deflating a bit. That was a very bad moment to change, so I waited until I really had to swap wheels. That’s where I lost the power I needed in the final”, Van Aert explained the events surrounding his equipment failure. “It’s logical that at some point I ended up alone. After my puncture I had to sacrifice all my teammates to quickly rectify the situation. The guys were there when they needed to be there. Those efforts obviously took a lot of strength.”

"On the Vossenhol, I had to give in. After my attack I felt that there was no more left."

Wout van Aert

In the kilometres that followed, the winner of two stages in Tirreno-Adriatico showed himself well on the Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont, among others, but after his explosion on the Tiegemberg, the legs were empty.

“I have a double feeling about this race”, Van Aert said in honesty. “My place would be in the front group, but that wasn’t possible today. On the Vossenhol, I had to give in. After my attack I felt that there was no more left. After that it was a give-and-take until the end, but at the front they didn’t sit still, of course. Deceuninck-Quick-Step showed themselves a very strong block. They deservedly won the race. It’s a shame about today, but fortunately Gent-Wevelgem is coming up soon.”

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