On Wednesday Jérôme Baugnies was the master of Druivenkoers in Overijse (1.1, 23/08) for the third time in a row. The hilly semiclassic in Brabant was characterized by an early breakaway of five riders. But as always the local laps in and around Overijse were decisive for the victory. Countless riders tried to get rid of the peloton, including title defender Jérôme Baugnies, but without success. Eventually a group of twenty riders sprinted for the victory. In the sprint Baugnies was the strongest. Just like in 2015 and 2016 he won, and thus Baugnies wrote his name for the third time on the palmares of the Druivenkoers. Baugnies thus comes close to the record of Bjorn Leukemans and Roger De Vlaeminck, who each won four times. Xandro Meurisse completed the Wanty-Groupe Gobert party by finishing 3rd.
"I really looked forward to this race. To my close environment I said: "Whoever beats me wins this race!" That is big talk, but I knew my form is really good. It's not easy to win here three times in a row. But we rode a perfect race with the team."
"In the final I went to counterattack Dimitry Peyskens, but after a while I saw the peloton approaching and I consciously stopped my legs to save power. The last time at Schavei I had to close the gap with some escaped riders. Then I was placed ideally, but at 250 meters from the line I had to launch the sprint with Xandro (Meurisse) in my wheel. Fortunately that is my strongest point. If I can start the sprint in first place, I am very hard to beat. Although 250 meters was a bit too far."
"I love this race for three reasons. Firstly, the period. In recent years, it's always good weather, which I love. Secondly, the course. I love the explosive slopes and the fallout competition. It's traditionally a race with a very long finale. Thirdly, the tradition. Bjorn Leukemans won here four times, and I try to take over that tradition. Although it will not be easy to win here again."
"Saturday I am riding in Meulebeke and I want to do something nice in Geraardsbergen on Wednesday. I've heard that it's the 100th edition. My song is definitely not over and still want to achieve some nice results until the end of the season."
Photo credit: Wanty-Groupe Gobert