Etixx – Quick-Step made it 1-2 on Tuesday, after a dominant display.
Julien Vermote is in fine form and he takes advantage of every opportunity to show that. Following a successful Tour of Britain, where he won stage 2 and spent four days in the yellow jersey, the 27-year-old returned to Belgium, for a series of one-day races. Here, he rode the Grand Prix de Wallonie and was part of the team that guided Fernando Gaviria to victory in GP Impanis-Van Petegem, before tasting success again, at the 84th Textielprijs Vichte.
As expected, the 175km event didn't give the riders a moment of respite, as fierce attacks came from the start, splitting the peloton and making things difficult to control. After a group containing Pieter Serry was reabsorbed by the pack, other riders – including Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana stage winner Stijn Vandenbergh – took off and led the race until the last four laps, when another strong group bridged across.
Both Yves Lampaert and Julien Vermote were there and broke away later together with two riders, opening a gap which the chasers couldn't close. Then, with just five kilometers remaining, Vermote put in a big acceleration and claimed a solo victory, just as he did in the Tour of Britain. To make the day perfect for Etixx – Quick-Step, Lampaert finished in second place, ahead of Tosh van Der Sande (Lotto-Soudal).
"It was a fast race, I think we had an average speed of around 47 km/h, and that says a lot about today. Yves played an important role, helping me cover various moves and close the ground on the attackers, and I want to thank him for that", Julien said after Textielprijs Vichte, which he rode for the first time in his career. "In the final seven kilometers, I sensed there was a chance, so I jumped from that group and went all the way to the line. I'm very happy for this victory, which underlines my condition and the fact that I'm ready for the next races."
1. Julien Vermote (Etixx – QuickStep) – 3:38:33
2. Yves Lampaert (Etixx – QuickStep) + 0:17
3. Tosh van Der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) + 0:18
32. Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx – QuickStep) + 0:23
58. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Etixx – QuickStep) s.t.
99. Rodrigo Contreras (Etixx – QuickStep) s.t.
103. Nikolas Maes (Etixx – QuickStep) s.t.
144. Pieter Serry (Etixx – QuickStep) + 0:50
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele