Matej Mohoric (Bahrain – Victorious) won the closing stage of the 2023 Renewi Tour. The Slovenian was the strongest of a group of five, defeating Matteo Trentin and Soren Kragh Andersen in the sprint. Tim Wellens safeguarded his leader’s jersey to take his third overall Renewi Tour win ahead of Florian Vermeersch and Yves Lampaert.
Between Riemst and Bilzen a larger breakaway formed with nine riders, including the likes of Luke Plapp, Derek Gee and Andrey Amador. The breakaway stitched together a maximum lead of around four minutes while also surviving until the Super 8 sprints, with Senne Leysen taking the first points ahead of Gee and Amador.
In the peloton Soudal – Quickstep, Lotto – Dstny and UAE Team Emirates kept the gap under control. As was the case on Saturday, Jasper Philipsen again cracked open the race by attacking on the Keiberg and breaking up the peloton, with all the favourites positioned at the front of the group. Yves Lampaert, Arnaud De Lie and Jasper Stuyven also got involved, with Mohoric further whittling down the numbers on the last ascent of the Slingerberg. In the final kilometre the lead group fell apart, with five riders distancing the rest of the contenders: Jasper De Buyst, Soren Kragh Andersen, Matteo Trentin, Matej Mohoric and Jasper Stuyven. The latter gambled on a late attack, but was overruled by his rivals. In the sprint Trentin looked set to win until he was passed at the finish line by last year’s Milan San Remo winner Mohoric.
“It was a difficult course, super technical,” said Mohoric. “It was even so technical that the riders weren’t sure if they wanted to take risks. It was a tough course, but we have to respect the organisers. Everyone knew months in advance what the course was going to be, so this decision had to be taken before and not during the race. It is what it is, we tried to adapt to the circumstances with our Bahrain – Victorious team. This was a day for me to pull a gap in the GC but unfortunately there were no bonifications today, so I am staying where I am in the standings. But this stage win is a nice reward for the team.”
Tim Wellens secured his leader’s jersey, following up his wins in 2014 and 2015 with a third overall victory in the Renewi Tour stage race. Florian Vermeersch finished second ahead of Yves Lampaert in an all-Belgian podium.
“We came here to try and win the GC and we did it, so we can only be satisfied,” said the UAE Team Emirates rider. “I felt really good today, but I wanted to stay with my team to not get in trouble. The legs were good, I knew it was going to be a dangerous stage, so we made sure to communicate well on the local circuit.”