Tiesj Benoot after Strade Bianche victory: I knew this victory would come one day
Mar 04 2018 04:25 am CET

Tiesj Benoot after Strade Bianche victory: I knew this victory would come one day

Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) started Strade Bianche with the intention of topping the eighth places he got in the last two editions of the race and he did so in a spectacular way.

The Belgian rider got his first victory as a professional after getting away from his companions of the front of the race with 12 kilometres to go. The rider continued the last kilometres on his own and took the victory by crossing the finish line seconds ahead of Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Wout Van Aert.

"After the break with Victor Campenaerts had been caught, Victor did a lot of pulling," the rider explained at the end of the race. "When there was no cooperation in the group anymore, both sports director Bart Leysen and I thought it would be best to attack. That turned out to be the right decision. The same scenario got repeated when Bardet and Van Aert rode together at the front. I felt my legs were good and that I had to try something because there was no team left that would close the gap.

"Serry was the perfect companion, he immediately helped chasing. I noticed that I was better than him though and that’s why I decided to leave him behind. I knew the part where I accelerated from the past two years and I knew that it would be possible to still close the gap. I succeeded in closing the gap pretty smoothly and then I realized I was the strongest at the front.

"I attacked on the last gravel sector and immediately had a nice lead. Then it was a matter of not crashing and having no flat tyre. When the team car rode behind me, I was less worried. I didn’t want to let my first pro victory slip through my fingers!"

The cold and wet weather was not a problem for Benoot, who was not even wearing gloves. "I had a super day. It was cold and it rained, but I never had problems with that kind of weather," the rider explained. "The Strade Bianche is one of my favourite races and one of the races that suit me best. Only strong riders have won this race and it’s wonderful to see my name among them!

"The altitude training camp at Sierra Nevada clearly was the perfect preparation. If this first pro victory adds any pressure? The expectations have always been high since I got fifth at Ronde van Vlaanderen 2015 as a neo-pro. I can cope with that really well. I always kept believing in myself and I knew this victory would come one day."
Image: Lotto-Soudal logo



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