Race report

Tough hilly opening stage in Belgium

Baloise Belgium Tour

The first day of racing at the Baloise Belgium Tour saw the bunch faced with a tricky stage and a testing Flemish finale. After a flurry of early moves, an eight rider breakaway managed to escape quickly into the day, building up an advantage which peaked at almost four minutes.

As the short and sharp climbs increased in intensity, the bunch upped the tempo and slowly started to bring back those out front, reducing the gap to only one minute with 35 kilometres to go. The pace stayed high in the peloton as riders had to let go of the wheels on the numerous climbs littered around the course. Casper Pedersen reacted well to a dangerous early move for the team before the eventual stage winning attack was made, with a duo bridging across to the remainder of the breakaway.

Chris Hamilton impressed once again, showing his good legs after the Giro, attacking several times in the finale to try and force a counter attack clear. Yet, another group couldn’t escape and those ahead would fight for the win, with Hamilton the team’s first rider home on the stage, finishing in the very reduced chasing peloton.

“I didn’t really have any expectations for myself coming from the Giro last week and wasn’t sure how I would go,” explained Hamilton after the stage. “Coming towards the end of the stage I was feeling okay so I tried a few attacks but couldn’t get away and just came in with what was left of the bunch in the final.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “Today’s first stage at the Baloise Belgium Tour was quite a tough one. The final local lap that we covered three times was quite brutal with small roads and steep climbs on it. The peloton completely exploded on these laps as you would expect, with Chris putting in a good ride, staying in the first part of the peloton that came in just behind the three leaders. We got no top result today but it was good to see Chris bringing some good legs out of the Giro. He’s got another day suited to him on Saturday so hopefully he can use those legs for another good performance then. The rest of the guys will now have a focus on the TT and hopefully the sprint stages still to come.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 GHYS Robbe Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise 4:05:15 20
2 EVENEPOEL Remco Deceuninck - Quick Step ,, 10
3 MARCHAND Gianni Tarteletto - Isorex ,, 5
24 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 0:28 -
62 PEDERSEN Casper Team DSM 6:18 -
92 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 8:12 -
95 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team DSM 10:15 -
105 VAN UDEN Casper Team DSM 10:28 -
137 LEIJNSE Enzo Team DSM 15:33 -
140 BOL Cees Team DSM ,, -