The 21-year-old talked about his first GC victory of the season and what made it so special.

“The Belgium Tour was just my second race of the season and winning it was a big relief. After a long injury and a long way back, it was very special to win again, to know that I returned close to my previous level. It also served as confirmation of the hard work I had put in and the support I got from the team, which is something I was and am very grateful for.”

“I remember the race kicking off with a very hot and hard stage, but the guys did a beautiful job and put me in the right place at the right moment, and once I noticed some of our opponents were suffering, I just decided to attack and split the field, which worked out well. I didn’t win that day, but I managed to gain time on the other GC contenders and that made for a perfect start. Then the time trial came – and with it, my first victory of the year – and achieving it on home soil made everything even more special. The only regret of that day is that Yves couldn’t be on the first step of the podium with me, as he too was very strong and would have deserved the win as well.”

“The next couple of days, the Wolfpack continued to do a flawless job, protecting me and making sure nothing would happen on the remaining tricky stages, and that made things easier. All I needed to do was remain attentive and follow my teammates, before wrapping it up on what turned out to be another great day for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, with Mark notching up the victory on the final stage.”

“During that week, everyone could see again the Wolfpack mentality, this incredible spirit that has carried us and continues to carry us to so many amazing victories. We fought hard and we worked hard, always believing in ourselves. Taking the general classification brought back a winning feeling that I had been missing since last year’s Tour de Pologne and an important morale boost for the second part of the season.”


Photo credit: ©Bas Czerwinski / Getty Images

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