Sean De Bie on STEVENS Xenon gathered the first stage victory for his team Verandas Willems-Crelan. At the Etoile de Bessège in France a five-stage race categorized by the UCI as 2.1, the former Cyclocross European Juniors’ Champion gave proof of his good early-season form.
After having placed himself in the top-ten in either the overall or sprint classification on each of the first three stages, on the fourth stage after 153km (95mls) from Chusclan nach Laudun L’Ardoise, he finally crossed the finish line first.
”The team supported my perfectly today”, De Bie said after the finish. ”Especially on the final 1.5 kilometers when Dries de Bondt and Stijn Devolder got me to the front of the peloton.” The difficult stage that crossed the ”Mur du Laudun” (Mur meaning ”wall” in French, and for a good reason), ended in a thrilling uphill sprint between De Bie and compatriot Timothy Dupont, when eventually classics specialist De Bie leapt ahead to win by only a couple of Millimeters. ”It’s nice to start the season this way. (…) This will give us a push for the rest of the year”, de Bie concluded and pointed out how important a role the team played in getting him the win. The Belgian pro cyclist finished the race in 8th overall and on the Silver rank in the sprint classification.
Previously the Belgian Pro Continental Team had already presented itself at the Sharjah Tour in the United Arab Emirates, where Senne Leysen won the Best Young Rider’s jersey. The next race will be one-day half-classic Trofeo Laigueglia (UCI 1.HC) in Italy.