In the Puitenkloppers municipality, the Belgian Cup will reveal its secrets on Saturday afternoon. Hammenaar Jonas Smet shows the yellow leader’s jersey, but feels the hot breath of Wesley Van Dyck in the neck. CT Projectbouw Borgonjon-Pessemier, Smet’s team, leads the team classification. Gerben Kuypers is leader in the youth classification.
The Grand Prix De Lijsterbes in Berlare closes the Belgian Cup, which has been reduced to four matches. “For me, this is the most important course of the year,” says Jonas Smet, who focuses on a re-examination and his master’s thesis in industrial engineering. “For that reason the condition is less good now than in the spring, but I think I’m ready for it. With the support of the teammates I should be able to hold off Wesley Van Dyck, the only competitor for the overall victory. We drive a course in the course. For my part, a group of thirty riders can ride away without Wesley and me. Then the points started flying and I am sure of a win. Such a scenario may not exist. The prediction of worse weather can mean that it will be a tougher course. Bad weather doesn’t bother me.”
Smet hardly drove races in the corona years, but has reinvented himself this year. “The sense of racing was sharpened. Good performance boosted confidence. Being able to win the Belgian Cup means something for a driver of my level. The fact that it is only about four games does not change that. It would also be nice for the team. Whether we can hold onto the leadership position remains to be seen. At Stageco they have a strong trump card with Belgian champion Vince Gerits if it turns out to be a peloton sprint. That team has fast men in its ranks, so we will have to race very attentively.”
East Flemish in power
In Berlare there is one certainty: an East Fleming is celebrated as the final laureate. “If I win, I will not have stolen the overall victory. In Nieuwrode I finished third behind Wesley Van Dyck and Guillaume Seye. Ylber Sefa preceded me in Rochefort and in Wervik Vince Gerits overtook Van Dyck and I finished fourth. It is clear that I will be targeting Van Dyck in Berlare. It is difficult to predict in advance how the price will develop. In this race I don’t ride to win, but to defend the leading position. If it ends up in a peloton sprint, then I have to make sure that Van Dyck doesn’t finish three places ahead of me. Getting enough points with the team is also a challenge. We are fighting on several fronts.”
Individual standings: 1. Jonas SMET 78 points, 2. Wesley Van Dyck 72, 3. Jasper Kaesemans 46, 4. Vince Gerits 42, 5. Gerben Kuypers 38.
Youth classification: 1. Gerben KUYPERS 38 points, 2. Victor Vercouillie 31, 3. Len De Pauw 22.
Team classification: 1. Cycling Team Projectbouw Borgonjon-Pessemier 96 points, 2. Stageco Cycling Team 93, 3. Dovy Kitchens-FCC 90, 4. Urbano-Vulsteke Cycling Team 89, 5. Crabbé Toitures-CC Chévigny 76.