With Philippe Gilbert (25th), Loïc Vliegen (18th), Greg Van Avermaet (8th) and winner Wout van Aert, only 4 Belgians finished in Siena. Tiesj Benoot gave up after a flat tire.
“I felt much better than expected in this heat,” he begins his story. “My teammates piloted me in 2nd position on lane 5, where the race would break open.”
“After a good 3 kilometers I punctured. I got the bike from Nikias Arndt, but I had lost a lot of time.”
The 2018 winner faced a catch-up race. “Not easy. Racing on such a gravel strip is really crazy work. I soon realized that I could no longer play a significant role.”
“Too bad, but it will motivate us extra for next weekend’s Milan-Sanremo”, Benoot promises.
Oliver Naesen hoped for a place in the top 10, but left the supply.
“At the start I felt it was too hot for me,” explains the rider of AG2R. “I have not remembered much about this race. Yes, it is nice, but I think it is nicer races here at 8 degrees than at 40.”
Naesen will ride Milan-Turin on Wednesday in preparation for Milan-Sanremo, in which he finished 2nd last year. “I hope it won’t reach 40 degrees again next week. Today I learned that such temperatures are not for me.”