12-18 AUGUST 2019
Stage 7 : Sint-Pieters-Leeuw to Geraardsbergen 173.1km
Laurens De Plus takes the win at the Binck Bank Tour
Laurens De Plus gave Team Jumbo-Visma it’s 41st win of the season when he finished four seconds behind the winner of the final stage compatriot Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) on a stage that saw the peloton totally fragmented. The result saw De Plus finish with a 35 seconds gap to Naesen on GC. Leader for the previous three stages Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) stumbled but salvaged third spot one second behind Naesen. Fourth spot went to Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) giving the Belgians the top four spots.
How it happened
The race didn’t start to take shape until 60 km into the stage when a group of eight went clear. On the Valkenberg another seven riders broke free from the peloton and bridged the gap.
The race faced three ascents of the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg, and on the final pass While Stybar and Vanmarcke attacked, it was Oliver Naesen who pulled out the definitive advantage over the favorites taking De Plus and Van Avermaet with him. De Plus in the process managed to grab valuable bonus seconds at the Golden Kilometre taking him to five seconds behind Wellens.
The trio worked hard and pulled out 45 seconds over the chasers who seemed to accept their fate much to Wellens despair who could see his lead disappear.
Van Avermaet launched a final attack on the climb to the line but Naesen sensing a massive opportunity kept the wheel and passed the Olympic Champion.
“It’s the first time I managed to beat Greg in a finish like that,” Naesen said after the finish. “I’m really proud of that. It’s a big relief. I hadn’t managed to win yet this season and that’s painful for a rider like me.
“I had a team-mate pulling at the front of the peloton to keep the gap with the breakaway small. On the last lap I went full on the Muur and Bosberg. Greg, Laurens and I are friends. We didn’t talk about anything in advance, but if you can take ten seconds with three guys on a reduced peloton you know you’re the strongest.”
For de Plus the bonus time proved truly golden as a finished four seconds behind his breakaway companions but 37″ ahead of Wellens to grab the overall.
Stage 7 and Final General Classification
Link: Official Binck Bank Page