When Victor Campenaerts jumped on a surprise attack from Remco Evenepoel on the opening day of the Baloise Belgium Tour , it proved to be a decision that effectively ended his race.
The UCI Hour Record holder cramped dramatically inside the final 10km of Wednesday’s stage and, as a result, has decided not to start stage 2.
Campenaerts went along with Evenepoel when the 21-year-old attacked on the undulating finishing circuit some 30km from the finish, and the pair bridged across to the breakaway.
Evenepoel did the lion’s share of the pacemaking, at one point venting his frustration at the lack of contribution from the others. While the breakaway riders had been out front all day, it soon became clear that Campenaerts wasn’t bluffing but also simply hanging on.
With around 8km to go, on the final ascent of the Ellestraat climb, the Belgian was dropped, slowing dramatically as his legs cramped from the effort. He even had to climb off his bike to recover.
Despite finishing the stage, a medical check suggested that the cramps had aggravated the knee tendon injury that forced him to exit the recent Giro d’Italia, and he pulled out of the race.
"Yesterday the opening stage of the Tour of Belgium was epic. I was really super focused and the team was really motivated," Campenaerts said."I tried everything I could, I went totally over the limit and totally cramped at the end, as you could clearly see."Unfortunately, the cramps hurt again the tendon that was inflamed in the Giro […]