The Belgian became the latest rider of the squad to taste victory this year.
Soudal Quick-Step recorded its fourth success since the start of the month Sunday afternoon, when Gust Lootens soloed to a spectacular victory at the kermesse held in Oostnieuwkerke, a small village not far from Roeselare. What made it even more impressive is that just two months ago, after the Tour de Bretagne, he underwent a successful heart surgery to correct a cardiac dysrhythmia, followed by a resting period and an altitude training camp before resuming competition just last weekend.
The 22-year-old Belgian, who finished top ten in Brussel-Opwijk and the Wim Hendriks Trofee in the first months of the season, was part of a group that got a gap over the peloton in the second half of the 116.5km race, and attacked from there in the closing kilometers, finishing ten seconds clear of the chasers.
“It’s an amazing day! To win in the colors of the Soudal Quick-Step Devo Team and to do it solo – something I was dreaming about since my junior days – it’s incredible, it’s a dream come true. I felt really good today and was confident that I could get something nice out of this race, but to win it is above my expectations. I want to thank the team for their belief in me and for supporting me this season. It wasn't easy, I had that setback in the spring, but the squad was always by my side, didn't rush me back to racing and took care of me the entire time, something for which I am very grateful. We are like a family and I'm loving every moment spent in this team”, said an over-the-moon Gust after his victory.
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel