Bakelants participated in this race as a preparation for the World Championships in Firenze. Since RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK did not have this race on their program, Bakelants was allowed to start with the team of national coach Carlo Bomans and he did not disappoint.
“I knew that I would be good here,” explained Bakelants. “Two weeks after my altitude training camp in Italy I expected to perform well in this region. Moreover in my U23 years I won a lot of races here. Now already I can tell you that Liège-Bastogne-Liège will be one of my goals next year. But first Firenze. I will attack there too, I hope. Philippe Gilbert will be the team leader and I will work for him with pleasure but I also hope to get some freedom myself.”
Bakelants attacked on the Côte de Lustin, 24 K from the finish. Mathias Frank (BMC) followed and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) joined the two a bit later.
“If I wanted to win, I had to improvisize,” continued Bakelants. “I knew that guys like Philippe Gilbert or Greg Van Avermaet would be hard to beat in the sprint. That’s why I attacked earlier. Because of the bad weather I knew that the peloton would not go faster than the break in that rain. With a gap of 45 seconds at 6K from the end I knew I could win. I had no problems to counter the attack of Voeckler on the uphill climb of 3 kilometers. I felt good in the rain and saw that Voeckler did not dare to take risks in the corners. In the last corner, I definitely took more risks than the Frenchman. It gave me the victory.”
For Bakelants it is his fourth victory of the season. In July he won the second stage in the Tour de France and wore the yellow jersey for two days.