Alvaro Hodeg strikes in Handzame Classic
First South American to win the Belgian semi-classic, the Colombian is the 85th rider to score a victory in the Quick-Step Floors jersey.
Alvaro Hodeg sprinted to his first pro win at Handzame Classic, giving Quick-Step Floors its 15th victory of the season, after another perfect race of our team, who controlled things from the outset in Bredene, keeping the ten escapees in constant check and making sure to reel them in as the peloton went into the business end of the 199.1km-long race, before setting up the young Colombian in the frantic finale which unfolded in Handzame.
Not even the numerous cobbled sectors or a crash of Florian Sénéchal with seven kilometers to go could derail Quick-Step Floors' excellent sprint train, who delivered Hodeg – a stage winner at the 2017 Tour de l'Avenir – in an ideal position inside the last 200 meters of the race, from where the 21-year-old blasted past Kristoffer Halvorson (Team Sky) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe), dashing to victory on Friday afternoon, to become the third Colombian winner of a Belgian semi-classic, after Leonardo Duque and teammate Fernando Gaviria.
It was Quick-Step Floors fourth victory in as many races in the Belgian Cup this season, after the ones netted by Niki Terpstra (Le Samyn), Rémi Cavagna (Dwars door West-Vlaanderen) and Fabio Jakobsen (Nokere Koerse), and it left Alvaro – the 85th rider to take a success for Quick-Step Floors since 2003 – speechless after crossing the line.
"It's difficult to tell you how I'm feeling after this win. It means the world to take my maiden pro victory with Quick-Step Floors, the team I have always dreamt of racing for. I always try to do my best and today it wasn't any different", said Hodeg at the press conference. "The plan from the beginning of the race was to do the sprint for me and I'm grateful to the boys for their support, they were fantastic. I am super happy to get this success and can tell you I'll continue to work hard in order to repay the team for their confidence."
Photo credit: ©Luc Claessen/ Getty Images