Race report

Casper Pedersen 11th in punchy Belgium Tour stage

Baloise Belgium Tour

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

The penultimate day of racing at the Belgium Tour saw the peloton head towards the hills and a tricky 152 kilometre long route, starting and finishing in the town of Hamoir. It was an attacking opening 20 kilometres of action before a six rider breakaway group managed to escape, building up an almost six minute gap, with all Team DSM riders in the peloton.

As the climbs and kilometres ticked by, the gap to those ahead steadily fell, with the peloton not wanting to make the catch too quickly. It became a race of attrition over the short but sharp hills, with riders dropping one-by-one from the group. Putting up a good fight, the breakaway were caught within the last ten kilometres after a strong but steady pace was set at the front. On the punchy final climb, the peloton split with Casper Pedersen and Joris Nieuwenhuis making the front group for the team. Heading into the technical finale, Nieuwenhuis tried to position Pedersen for the finish but unfortunately they got squeezed ever so slightly and Pedersen couldn’t compete for a top result in the end, crossing the line in a solid 11th place.

“Today was the Ardennes stage so we were prepared for a hard day but actually the race wasn’t as hard as it could have been as it was quite controlled,” explained Pedersen. “It ended in a sprint but with a selection on the last lap. We were originally protecting Chris in case it would be a real climbers race but as we entered the lap we saw that it was being controlled. I said I was feeling quite good and that I could sprint in case we had a sprint scenario in the end. On the last climb Joris and I made it over together in the group. We found each other but unfortunately we got boxed in going into the last two corners and were around in 15th position for the sprint. It’s a shame because I felt good still and was ready to do a sprint but the position was just not there.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “Today’s fourth stage took place in the Liège region and it was quite a solid parcours. A strong group of around six riders went away to form the break early in the stage. However, the tempo in the peloton wasn’t quite hard enough to break the bunch up and it came down to a small group sprint in the end. We had Casper, who has a good sprint on him, in that front group. We tried to set him up through the technical last corners but he got squeezed a little and we couldn’t go for a real top result, finishing just outside the top ten.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 EWAN Caleb Lotto Soudal 3:37:48 20
2 COQUARD Bryan B&B Hotels p/b KTM ,, 10
3 BALLERINI Davide Deceuninck - Quick Step ,, 5
11 PEDERSEN Casper Team DSM ,, -
37 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team DSM 0:09 -
53 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 0:23 -
60 VAN UDEN Casper Team DSM 0:45 -
73 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM 2:58 -
76 LEIJNSE Enzo Team DSM 3:46 -
121 BOL Cees Team DSM 11:47 -