Sep Vanmarcke once again achieved a top result in a big Belgian one-day race today. At the Tour of Flanders’ finish in Oudenaarde, Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM’s Belgian placed third to Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing).
Vanmarcke was part of a final selection of four. In the sprint for the victory, Cancellara beat him and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) for his third win in Flanders.
“In the last kilometres, I was having cramps and I said to myself, ‘I have to finish on the podium,’” said Vanmarcke. “I decided to go on safe. I even closed a gap myself as otherwise I knew I could end up fourth. I’m happy with my third place, but now, slowly, a sense of disillusionment hits me. If I had started the sprint earlier, you never know what could had happen.”
The road to the podium was not without a struggle for Vanmarcke. In the first part of the race, the Belgian hit tarmac hard.
“I fell right on my neck and was suffering for quite a while. I also wasted some power returning to the peloton, but the team continued to motivate me and after the first cobblestone section, I found my rhythm again. I started believing in my chances again. When I told my team-mates that, it motivated them. It was very hectic today, but after my crash, I never got into trouble thanks to my team-mates. That was great.”
This year, Vanmarcke already finished in the top five of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, E3-Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem. After his podium spot in the Tour of Flanders, the man from Kortrijk hopes for another top result in next Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix. “I definitely will be ready for next week.”
Nico Verhoeven saw his team gain confidence for the Hell of the North. “Today we have gained some extra morale,” the satisfied Sports Director explained.
“The team supported Sep very well until the final and after that, he fought for what he was worth. He was beaten in a fair fight. Of course, it’s a pity that Sep didn’t win, but we are very proud of his third place. This is a result, which we haven’t been able to achieve in this race in recent years.”