The Colombian took his first victory of the year after a solid ride in filthy conditions.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step celebrated a second consecutive success at the Grote Prijs Vermarc. After Florian Sénéchal soloed to victory at the inaugural edition in 2020, now Alvaro Hodeg put his hands up in the air as he crossed the finish line in the small town of Wezemaal, after prevailing in a two-man sprint.
Our team came at the start with five riders, and following several skirmishes, Alvaro joined a small group that got away on the second lap. The one-minute gap was quickly erased some twenty kilometers later by a large chasing group, giving Deceuninck – Quick-Step several cards to play, as Mark Cavendish and the defending champion Sénéchal joined the 24-year-old Colombian. The spitting rain and low temperatures made for an attritional day, but that didn’t bother Hodeg, who rode away on the penultimate lap, this time together with five other men.
While many were expecting Alvaro to gamble all his cards on a sprint, he surprised his opponents by attacking on the last climb of the race, taking just Bert Cle (Stageco) with him. The duo powered away from their companions and had enough of a gap by the time they arrived in the final kilometer, where Alvaro Hodeg unleashed a powerful sprint with 200 meters to go, comfortably beating his opponent.
“It feels great to win again and I am very happy. The team did a great race today and I am really grateful to them. We wanted to do a hard race, so we attacked early and tried to shape things. Then, when I found myself in a small group for the second time during the day, I just decided to go, as I felt good and knew the others would soon attack to prevent the race from coming down to a sprint. We worked well together and in the end I was just faster. I’m delighted with this victory, as it gives me a lot of confidence ahead of the next appointments of the season”, said Alvaro after the race.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele /Getty Images