Arne Marit wins Lotto Top Competition
Thanks to an eleventh place in last Sunday’s Antwerpse Havenpijl, Arne Marit has won the Lotto Top Competition. However, this top result was not sufficient for Lotto Soudal U23 to win the team classification. After six successive victories, the team finished in second place. In the past week, the team participated in two stage races as well: The Tour d’Alsace and Tour de Namur.
Last Sunday, the team raced 178 kilometres in and around Antwerp. The Antwerpse Havenpijl was the fifth and final race of the Lotto Top Competition and consisted of two large 45-kilometre laps and nine local laps of ten kilometres. After fifty kilometres, three riders set up an early breakaway. When the peloton entered the nine local laps, there were several counter-attacks, including an attempt by Sander De Pestel. He succeeded and together with a few other counter-attackers, he formed a new break of six riders. This group worked together smoothly, but was overtaken in the final lap by the peloton. Tibo Nevens won the race in the bunch sprint, in which Arne Marit ended in eleventh place. Because of this, he was awarded with the overall victory in Lotto Top Competition.
Lotto Soudal U23 started this five-day stage race in France with good intentions, but suffered from a heavy crash in the first stage. Four out of six riders crashed in the stage’s finale. Ruben Apers suffered a broken collarbone and had to abandon the race. Jonas Castrique, Julian Mertens and Gerben Thijssen also crashed, but could continue to race. Maxim Van Gils showed his class in the two mountain stages, which resulted in a sixteenth place in the general classification. Frenchmen Geoffrey Bouchard was the overall winner.
Tour de Namur
In the Tour de Namur, the team had several promising results. Both Laurens Huys and Ward Vanhoof finished three stages with a top ten result. One of Huys’ three top ten results came in the final stage that finished on the Citadel of Namur. This resulted in a ninth place in the general classification as well and he only just missed out on the jersey for the best young rider. The overall victory went to Abraham Stockman.