This Tuesday, the seven riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at the start of the Egmont Cycling Race (1.1, 17/08) in Zottegem were inspired by Rein Taaramäe’s success at the Tour of Spain. The previously named GP Stad Zottegem is known as a demanding race suited for fast classic riders. The rainy circumstances were an extra difficulty in this 86th edition. Despite this six riders attacked in the beginning of the race. The Lange Munte, Berendries or Lippenhovestraat were some of the difficulties which could do damage to the peloton during the first big loop of 101 kilometer. When the peloton began to chase the six leaders, the elimination started from the back. In addition, the rain turned the roads in Zottegem to a slippery ice skating track, eliminating several riders in crashes. Unfortunately also Jonas Koch was a victim of a crash in the final 5 kilometer. But Danny van Poppel could still rely on 18 year old trainee Dries De Pooter, who always raced at the forefront, and on Baptiste Planckaert, who tried to avoid a sprint with 20 kilometer to go. Van Poppel finished off Planckaert’s lead out with a powerful sprint to take his first victory of the season after several 2nd places in Dwars door het Hageland or the Volta ao Algarve.
Photo: Glenn Coessens