Sander de Pestel has accumulated a place of honor and is in the shape of his life: “It’s really fun on a racing bike again” (Sint-Niklaas)

Cycling Elite Team Flanders-Baloise

In the Antwerp Port Classic, among others, Sander de Pestel fought for victory until the final. , © Belgium

After years filled with physical pain and misery, Sander de Pestel is cycling through the peloton this season unperturbed. And now its effect is visible in the results as well. The Waaslander stacks up the places of honor.

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“It’s really nice to be able to race with this position,” said former Belgian junior champion De Pestel. “I predicted earlier in the spring that we would get profits in the months of May and June. Because people don’t realize how difficult it is for riders of our level to compete from the front in real top classics and make it to the finals. In that race, the WorldTour teams claim the first hundred places in the peloton. If you want to intervene, you have to fight, literally and figuratively. There are more races at this stage of the season and the world’s top players are on the big rounds. For example, the level of competitions is more balanced and it provides opportunities.”

After the Classic season, De Pestel also went to an altitude training period in Andorra. The fair race at Rudervoorde was later his first appearance in his home country. He immediately finished in sixth place. After that, it kept peaking in every game. At the Antwerp Port Classic he competed to win the final. “Unfortunately, the windfall of Dries de Bondt’s team was a bit too spectacular there. In the final I had already shot a lot of ammo so that everyone could talk. Perhaps there could have been something else,” continues de Pestel, who was left with the cost of belligerence.

De Pestel also continued to race in the French Boucles de la Mayenne and the subsequent Tour of Limburg (tenth). “I’m often the leader for our sprinters in those races. But I still feel good enough to compete for prizes myself. That gives us confidence and we carry on from that.

gravel bars

The Brussels Cycling Classic and Dwars door Hegeland will be the next task for Waaslander. “There will probably be sprinting again in Brussels, but there are definitely opportunities in Haagland. It’s not such a flat course and there are some gravel strips. I quite like doing that. With Florian Vermarsch, I once did a route in Waasland where we discovered a total of 120 km of gravel bars. Maybe we should do something with it someday”, 210 km with 3800 altimeters in the Ardennes together with Brent Van More, Cedric Bellens and Alex Coleman De Pestel concluded after completing seven hours of long endurance training. “On average over thirty kilometers per hour,” he notes. “The training was a little longer than planned, but it was fun. It’s fun being on a racing bike again.”

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