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Belgian escapes alongside Van Goolen and Vanbilsen and keeps the peloton at bay all the way to the finish before finally launching his sprint to win Druivenkoers-Overijse for the 4th year in a row

Photo: Vacansoleil-DCM

BJÖRN LEUKEMANS

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DRUIVENKOERS – OVERIJSE

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MARTIN MORTENSEN

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RIWAL CYCLING TEAM

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VACANSOLEIL-DCM PRO CYCLING TEAM

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21.08.2013 @ 18:04 Posted by Adam Aisen

The Belgian semi-classic Druivenkoers-Overijse almost belongs to Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil). Today the Belgian won the hilly race for the fourth time in a row by outsprinting breakaway companions Jurgen Van Goolen (Accent.jobs) and Kenneth Vanbilsen (Topsport Vlaanderen) in Overijse.

 

Bjorn Leukemans is a hugely consistent classics riders but he doesn't win very often. Once in a year, he does, however, step onto the top step of the podium: in late August when the Belgian semi-classic Druivenkoers-Overijse is held.

 

True to tradition the Belgian emerged as the strongest in today's 53rd edition of the race when he won the sprint against his breakaway companions Jurgen Van Goolen and Kenneth Vanbilsen. Having used his team to make the race hard, he got into the crucial move and did a fantastic job to keep the peloton at bay despite the combined chase efforts from several teams.

 

With the win Leukemans equals Roger De Vlaeminck's record of four wins in the Belgian race. He also continues the recent string of success from his Vacansoleil team which has now won 4 races in August. Nonetheless, the team still hasn't found a sponsor for next season and the team's future is still under threat.

 

An early escape

The 199km Belgian semi-classic started with four laps on 28km circuit which contained 5 hellingen. With more than 100km in their legs, they passed another two hellingen to get to the 10km finishing circuit which was to be tackled 8 times and contained another 4 hellingen.

 

After yesterday's attack festival in the GP Stad Zottegem, there was no big fight to get into today's early break. Jasper Hamelink (Jo Piels), Gerrit Broeders (To Win-Josan), Ronan McLaughlin (An Post) and Jasper De Buyst (Topsport Vlaanderen) got clear early in the race and were allowed to build up a 6-minute gap.

 

Vacansoleil in control

Vacansoleil had big plans with Leukemans today and so they started to stabilize the gap. For a long time Rick Van Caldenborgh (Doltcini-Flanders) was in lone pursuit of the front group but he never bridged the gap and finally fell back into the peloton.

 

The early part of the race was marred by numerous crashes and punctures but Vacansoleil always kept things under control. Midway through the race, the Dutch team decided that it was time to up the pace and they accelerated furiously over some of the hellingen.

 

A split in the peloton

The peloton split up and a 28-rider group containing Gaetan Bille, Stig Broeckx, Kenny Dehaes, Brian Bulgaç &Jonas Van Genechten (Lotto-Belisol), Kris Boeckmans, Wouter Mol, Boy van Poppel, Bjorn Leukemans, Marco Marcato, Kenny van Hummel, Frederik Veuchelen, Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro CT), Cesare Benedetti & Michael Schwarzmann (Team Netapp-Endura), Mark McNally (An Post-Chainreaction), James Mowatt & Yu Takenouchi (Colba-Superano Ham), Robbert de Greef (Cyclingteam Jo Piels), Martin Mortensen (Concordia Forsikring-Riwal), Diego Milan Jimenez (Team Differdange-Losch), Jimmy Janssens, Stef Van Zummeren, Gertjan Devos & Wouter Wippert (Team 3M), Jean-Albert Carnevali & Kevin THomé (Verandas Willems), Fabio Polazzi & Evrard (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Jurgen Van Goolen (Accent Jobs-Wanty), Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony), Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Waloise), Nicolas Vereecken (An Post-Chainreaction) distanced the remainder of the peloton. Many teams had, however, missed out on the Vacansoleil-dominated group and so it was brought back together.

 

The acceleration spelled the end for the breakaway. McLaughlin was the first to get caught and a little later Broeder, Hamelink and De Buyst were also back in the peloton.

 

New attacks

It was now time for Vacansoleil to ride offensively and so they launched Boy Van Poppel up the roads. Diego Milan Jimenez (Differdange) and Bram Nolten (Doltcini) both tried to bridge across but ultimately it was all brought back together.

 

This was when Leukemans first played his cards as he went up the road alongside Gaetan Bille (Lotto). The latter fell off the pace but the move ended up being fruitless.

 

The decisive group goes clear

Leukemans refused to give up and so he tried another move. This time he was joined by Vanbilsen and Van Goolen and they quickly opened up a 1-minute gap over the peloton.

 

Numerous riders tried to bridge across. Gregory Habeaux (Accent), Mark McNally (An Post), Huub Duijn (De Rijke), Jimmy Janssens (3M), Laurent Evrard (Wallonie), Fabio Polazzi (Wallonie), Martin Mortensen (Concordia), Niels Wytinck (An Post), Berden de Vries (CT Jo Piels) and Emiel Wastyn (Ventilair-Steria), Bram Nolten (Doltcini-Flanders) and Marco Marcato (Vancansoleil) were all off the front at different points but no one had any success.

 

An organized chase

Lotto-Belisol had now organized a chase but the Belgian had a hard time getting closer to the front trio. They got assistance from Concordia and later also NetApp and Crelan-Euphony but 10km from the finish, the gap was still 1 minute.

 

Maxime Vantomme (Crelan) and Sjoerd Kouwenhoven (De Rijke) both made attempts to fruitless bridge across in the finale but ultimately the front trio had to decide the race. Leukemans showed that he also has a fast finish by taking the win ahead of Van Goolen and Vanbilsen. 20 seconds later Jonas Vangenechten (Lotto) beat teammate Kenny Dehaes and Marcato in the sprint for fourth on a day that entirely belonged to Leukemans.

 

Result:

1. Bjorn Leukemans 4.46.54

2. Jurgen Van Goolen

3. Kenneth Vanbilsen +0.03

4. Jonas Vangenechten +0.20

5. Kenny Dehaes

6. Marco Marcato

7. Timothy Dupont

8. Tom Van Asbroeck

9. Yves Lampaert

10. Antonie Demoitie

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