Druivenkoers-Overijse, Matîs Louvel: "Winning in Belgium, the land of cycling, is strong”
Matîs Louvel has added Druivenkoers-Overijse to his list of achievements in front of a bunch of flahutes specialists.
On the line
“I had a bit of pressure on my shoulders, because I was the designated leader of the team. I didn’t want to miss out. I had missed the team race a bit in the Poly, and I had to make up for it today. I was waiting for the beginning of the race, it was a bit quiet, at the crucial moment of the race when I had to be placed, Pierre and Markus did it ideally. I took 10th place in the cobbled Mont, without having to force myself before. We went out with 5 riders and I didn’t panic. I passed my relays without putting everything I had. The peloton was not far away, but also not all the teams were represented. I didn’t get carried away. We still had a 20 seconds advantage at the foot of the last climb and I decided to try my luck because I couldn’t compete in the sprint and I didn’t want to come back from behind. I knew that I had very good legs and I went up the cobbled climb in the lead. I made the difference and afterwards I did an individual time trial until the line. There were seven kilometres left. And I rode all the way up. This first success in Belgium is important, I had won in 2021 but it doesn’t have the same value even if the two races are of the same classification. Here, considering the number of participants, it was almost a ProSerie race. Winning in Belgium, the land of cycling, is also very special. This country is a land of cycling. It has more flavour. I think that the Tour gave me strength, if I can ride like that in the final it is thanks to this event. After the Tour, I was mentally tired, I had a hard time getting back into it, and also getting back on track. I got sick after the Polynormande, but I listened to my body. And I had a week to breathe. I felt better in Hamburg and at the beginning of the week. I was strong and fresh. I was really good, confident and I knew that my legs would not let me down over the distance of this race. The Tour was especially useful for the last solo raid that allowed me to seal this success”.
“I would like to pay tribute to the work of Pierre Thierry, our trainee, and Markus Pajur who were impressive in putting Matis back in the race at a strategic moment. De Druivenkoers-Overijse. Van Gestel makes an attack at this moment. Démare follows, he does the same. They were five in front at that moment. Their lead was 20 seconds. Matîs climbed the last climb of the day, six kilometres from the finish. He gradually built up a gap and won with a 15 second advantage. He won on the strength of his attack on the Mokesstraat, the difficulty of the 2021 World Championships. There was a big field at the start of this race, 20 mountains to climb, a lot of heat and competitors who were all specialists of the Flandriennes. Matîs had been designated as our sole leader. He had to be placed at the approach of the finish, and then it was the legs that spoke. He undoubtedly benefits from his participation in the Tour de France, which has allowed him to take a step forward”.