Roelandts wins Franco-Belge
Bouhanni also finishes on a high in Belgium
Last Updated: September 30, 2012 4:46pm
Roelandts: Triumphant display on home turf
Jurgen Roelandts wrapped up the overall victory at the Circuit Franco-Belge by sprinting to third place on the final day of action.
The Lotto-Belisol rider - who had successfully defended his lead since the opening stage - was right in the mix again as the race reached a hotly-contested conclusion, and his result ensured he took his title with a 17-second margin over Team Sky’s Juan Antonio Flecha.
FDJ-BigMat’s Nacer Bouhanni was also celebrating in Tournai after sealing the stage win with a fine late burst ahead of British sprinter Adam Blythe (BMC Racing).
The fourth and final stage had been another lively encounter and numerous early attacks had been thwarted by the time Jean-Lou Paiani (Saur–Sojasun), Thomas Bertolini (Farnese Vini) and Tim De Troyer (Accent.jobs) eventually broke away.
The trio quickly saw their numbers boosted by the arrival of Boris Dron (Wallonie) and Gediminas Bagdonas (An Post-Sean Kelly), and they had built a lead of over a minute by the time they made it onto the day’s finishing circuit.
Rob Ruijgh (Vacansoleil) and Serge Dewortelaer (Idemasport) would also bridge over to the front group shortly after their second crossing of the finish line, but all seven had been reeled back in on the approach to the final two intermediate sprints.
As Flecha was still in with a chance of victory, Team Sky had piled on the pressure in pursuit of those leaders, and their Spanish rider jumped clear on two occasions to wrap up six potentially-pivotal bonus seconds.
Those efforts would ultimately prove in vain however as Flecha got swamped in the dying stages after a large crash had caused havoc in the bunch, and rolled home in 20th position after Bouhanni had captured his seventh win of the season, with Roelandts just two places further behind.