Jasper Stuyven’s star sparkles in Vuelta

Summary

Young cyclist Jasper Stuyven was someone to watch in the Tour of Spain, while Bart de Clercq was the top Flemish finisher at 34th

Flemish teams finish in middle

Coming in ninth in the green jersey points classification, 22-year-old cyclist Jasper Stuyven (pictured) was a rare flash of Flemish flair in the Vuelta a España, the Tour of Spain, which ended in Santiago de Compostela on Sunday.

On his first-ever grand tour, the former UCI Junior Road Race World Champion from Leuven easily out-performed more seasoned riders with three top-four places. “This is more than I dared to think in advance,” he said. “My first year as a pro was good, but reaching the very top is not easy.”

For Jurgen Van den Broeck and Tom Boonen, the Vuelta was a tour to forget as the classics specialists both dropped out. Van de Broeck crashed in the Tour de France last year, severely damaging his right knee and did not return to training until October. Boonen dropped out of the Vuelta three days before the end to prepare for the world championships in Ponferrada, Spain, next week; but he was already lagging in the second half of the field.

Overall, Maxime Montfort, in 16th place, Bart de Clercq in 34th and Philippe Gilbert in 45th were the top Belgians. The two Flemish teams finished mid-table: Lotto Belisol was 10th out of the 22 teams, while Wevelgem-based Omega Pharma-Quick Step was 11th.

Young cyclist Jasper Stuyven was someone to watch in the Tour of Spain, while Bart de Clercq was the top Flemish finisher at 34th.

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Flemish cycling

Flemish cyclists have played a dominant role in the history of European bicycle racing. With the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), the region also has a classic cycle race.
Flandriens - The legendary pioneers of the Flemish cycling tradition are called “Flandriens”. They include Roger De Vlaeminck, Eddy Planckaert, Johan Museeuw and Walter Godefroot.
Eddy Merckx - Having won 525 races in his career, Brusselaar Eddy Merckx, nicknamed “the Cannibal”, is considered one of the greatest cyclists of all time.
Trophy - The annual Flandrien Trophy honours the best Belgian cyclist of the past season. Professional cyclists choose and vote for the nominees.
5

number of times Merckx won the Tour de France

1 913

first Tour of Flanders

1 969

Merckx becomes first Belgian to win the Tour de France in 30 years