The Belgian took a memorable success at the race created more than a century ago.
Ilan Van Wilder signed off the 949th victory in the history of our team after a remarkable solo ride in Tre Valli Varesine, where he broke away from an elite group featuring Grand Tour and Monument winners and managed to hold off the chasers en route to becoming the first Belgian since Eddy Merckx in 1968 to taste success at the Italian one-day race.
Victorious this season at the Deutschland Tour, Ilan made his smart move after some heated kilometers which witnessed a flurry of attacks from the big favourites, going clear on a false flat just of the hilly circuit around Varese – host of the 2008 World Championships – just before the 2km Casciago climb. The moment he opened up a small margin with ten kilometers to go, the 23-year-old continued pressing on his pedals and arrived at the bottom of the last ascent with 20 seconds in hand.
Via Sacco was no easy task, but Ilan rode superbly in the closing kilometers, managing his effort to a tee and claiming his first success in a one-day race – at an event Soudal Quick-Step hadn’t won until today.
“I am very happy with this win, the least expected victory of my career, as it came after not feeling that good last Saturday in Giro dell’Emilia. When I went clear it happened without me wanting to attack, all that I intended was to make a tempo, but then I had a gap and went full gas. Brama encouraged me from the car all the time, saying I had to do a time trial to the finish, and that’s what I did. This is an emotional victory, one for my teammates and the staff, after a difficult week”, said Ilan following Soudal Quick-Step’s 54th triumph of the season.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images