Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Kristof Vandewalle is the new Belgian National TT Champion, victorious on Wednesday after finishing with a time of 56 minutes and seven seconds.
Vandewalle bested 2nd place finisher Ben Hermans (Radioshack-Nissan) by 48", and 3rd place finisher Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team), who was the defending champion, by a minute and 10 seconds.
Vandewalle, who trailed in the first intermediate point, came on stronger in the second section of the course to pull off the win.
Vandewalle's National Championship brings the total for OPQS in 2012 to nine. OPQS, a Belgian based team, won both the Road and National Championship in Belgium. This is the 47th victory in three disciplines for the team.
"Today Kristof had a great race" said Sports Director Rik Van Slycke, who followed Vandewalle during the TT. "He started immediately very good. We had the reference time of Julien Vermote and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, but since the beginning Kristof was flying on the parcour. At the end of the first lap he was already leader with 2" on Gilbert. Basically he did the three laps of the circuit at the same level of performance, gaining time on the competitors kilometer by kilometer. He never had a bad moment. He deserves this title."
"It's a great day for me," Vandewalle said. "I was looking forward to this race. I trained a lot in the last week to be competitive here, and in the upcoming races. Yesterday I did a recon of the parcour, and I had a feeling it could be a good track for me. There were a lot of uphill sections where you had to use the small gear, and keep a good rhythm. So today, I did it. The goal was to take a place on the podium. It was even better then I expected! It's my first victory of the season, after a first part of the year with a lot of problems due to a virus. Since July at the Tour of Austria, things changed. I was second in the TT there. This year I feel really good in the Time Trial and I have good sensations each time I jump on my Specialized TT bike."
"So far I haven't felt like the TT Belgian Champion," Vandewalle continued. "Here there were a lot of good riders, I think I will realize what I did only in the next days. Now I will leave immediately for La Vuelta. I feel good and I really hope to do a good race there and show also my new Belgian TT Champion jersey!"