Wout van Aert conquered the Belgian tricolore after a milimeter sprint with Edward Theuns (Trek-Segrafredo). It’s the first national road race title in his career.
Van Aert took victory in a three-man sprint from Edward Theuns and Rempo Evenepoel, after the trio had escaped the bunch with 24 km to go. It was his first race since winning the Amstel Gold Race on April 18 and only one month after he had his appendix removed.
Wout van Aert:
"It's one of the most beautiful jerseys in the peloton. Obviously I wanted to win it one day. I want to dedicate this victory to my dear friend 'De Smol', who lost the battle against bone cancer last month. I had to think a lot about him the past few weeks. I had to fight to come here and race. I want to thank him for giving me that power today.”
"It was a difficult finale. Edward Theuns bridged up with me, but didn't want to co-operate. I wanted to rely on my sprint but I was carrying the race with only Remco Evenepoel. It seems like I'm always doing close sprints. I'm glad the photo finish was clear!"
"It sounds strange after a victory but there's certainly room for improvement. Today I had to undergo the race and bide my time. I rode several championships where it didn't work out well. Today I managed to get into the right breakaway. Due to circumstances this is a very pleasing victory. The Tour de France is very different to this race but I had doubts and now I can head to the Tour with confidence and show my new tricolore jersey."