Handzame Classic: Meersman Wins After Textbook Leadout!
Etixx - Quick-Step spent much of the final kilometers of 198.6km Handzame Classic on the front, determined to set up the race for sprinter Gianni Meersman. The team got its wish, as the last riders trying to prevent the field sprint were caught going into the last 10km, on the final lap.
Etixx - Quick-Step still had 6 riders remaining on the front, and they never lost control of the race going into the sprint. One-by-one the leadout riders peeled off, and Meersman launched his sprint in perfect position for the win.
Antoine Demoitie (Wallonie - Bruxelles) was 2nd, and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) was 3rd.
Meersman has won three races this season. His latest at Handzame Classic is the 17th on the road for Etixx - Quick-Step in 2015.
"It was a pretty fast race," Meersman said, "There were 4 riders in the breakaway, but it was very cold today and they didn't get too much of an advantage. Once we reached the local laps Etixx - Quick-Step really took the initiative to close the gap. Martin Velits and Pieter Serry were in the front riding, while the other guys saved themselves for the final six kilometers to bring me to the front for the bunch arrival. The guys really pulled hard to make to perfect sprint for me possible. I'm very grateful for the work the team did for me and that I could finish it. It also feels super special to win as a Belgian rider in what is basically a home race for me."