Exactly one week after the impressive collective performance in Paris-Roubaix, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux again played a major role this Sunday in the 108th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège (1.UWT).
On his eight race day of the season in 2022, Belgian rider Quinten Hermans obtained second place in La Doyenne after 257 kilometer or more than six hours of racing, by winning the sprint for second place 48 seconds behind te winner.
In the beginning of the race, his teammate Baptiste Planckaert managed to join the breakaway of eleven riders after a long battle, enabling the Belgian World Team to be represented in the front for a second consecutive year.
Planckaert was present in the front of the race until the Côte de Stockeu and then helped out Simone Petilli and Jan Bakelants, who were involved in the crash in the downhill of the Haute Levée. Quinten Hermans, Domenico Pozzovivo and Georg Zimmermann avoided the crash which split the peloton with 60 kilometer to go and accompanied the first part of the peloton until the foot of La Redoute. Hermans followed the best climbers until La Roche-aux-Faucons, where he had to let go a group of ten riders in pursuit of leader Evenepoel.
With perseverance, the cyclocross specialist returned to the group on the downhill part towards the finish, enabling him to sprint for second place. Hermans overtook Belgian champion Wout Van Aert in the final hectometers and sprinted to second place, climbing on an entirely Belgian podium.
In this way, Hermans obtained the first podium in a Monument in the team’s history and also the twentieth podium of the season for the Belgian World Team. Even though he punctured between the Col du Rosier and the Côte de Desnié, Pozzovivo managed to come back in the strong rider group and to cross the line in 26th place.
“I knew that I was able to sprint well after a hard race. But I surprised myself by beating strong riders such as Wout Van Aert. It was a true fight for his slipstream, but I was determined and absolutely wanted to sprint in his slipstream. I felt that I still had something left in the legs to overtake him and so I won the group sprint. I was already happy with this performance, but it was only a couple of minutes later that it sunk in that I took second place in a Monument. It’s an honor for me to join those two champions on the podium!”
1.Remco Evenepoel 6:12:38
2.Quinten Hermans +0:48
3.Wout Van Aert
26.Domenico Pozzovivo +2:30
85.Jan Bakelants +13:45
DNF Corné van Kessel
DNF Baptiste Planckaert
DNF Georg Zimmermann