Gloag strong in final of mountain stage Tour of Valencia
Tom Gloag helped colour the finale of the second stage of the Tour of Valencia. ...
Wout van Aert has soloed to victory in Zonhoven. The Belgian champion quickly established himself in the lead. In the women’s race; Fem van Empel finished third after a challenging cross. Marianne Vos finished eleventh.
Van Aert controlled the cross from the start and was alert on the treacherous course in Zonhoven. "I had the feeling I could ride a high pace. After the challenging crosses of the previous weeks, a meaningful acceleration was no longer possible. At the start of the race, I tried to take advantage of Mathieu's errors. When he fell in front of me, I managed to establish a significant gap”, the winner said.
He steadily increased his lead and won by a significant margin. It was Van Aert’s eighth win of this cross season.
"You can hear from the audience what is happening. That’s gratifying, even if you are suffering."
With 'the pits' serving as the deciding factor, it was also a feast for the spectators in Zonhoven. This did not go unnoticed by Van Aert. "It is the only cross on the calendar where you get this kind of connection with the public. You can hear from the audience what is happening. That’s gratifying, even if you are suffering”, Van Aert said.
In the women's race, Fem van Empel and Marianne Vos were both at the start on behalf of Team Jumbo-Visma. Before the start, Van Empel indicated that she was not fully fit. The Dutch rider got off to a fast start, nevertheless, and was the first to steer her bike into the shifting sand. However, soon after, she crashed hard. "It's hugely annoying. I was riding with bib number thirteen; let's leave it at that”, Van Empel said.
After the incident, she had to catch up. "I benefited from the crowd's energy and recovered nicely. I am happy that despite finishing third, I didn't drop too many points from my leading position in the World Cup."