Niels Vandeputte speechless after victory in Lille: “This is extremely important”

Sunday, February 11, 2024 at 4:32 PM

Niels Vandeputte could already look back on his cyclo-cross season with satisfaction, but the Belgian put the icing on the cake on Sunday. The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider came out on top in the X2O Trophy Lille, recording his first victory in a classification cross.

February 11, 2024 will forever remain a special day for Vandeputte. In the flash interview afterwards, a visibly bewildered Vandeputte had to search for the right words. “It’s really unbelievable. I have very few words for this. It was already in my head yesterday (Saturday, ed.). I like coming to Lille and have shown great things here in the past.”

“I knew where to do it,” he says of his decisive attack on the course. “And it turned out just as I had imagined. I don’t really know what to say now… I chose to ride in third position, which of course entails risks. The second man can always make a mistake.”

Vandeputte looks back on the final round. “I wanted to place an attack in front of the VIP tent. No one appeared to be able to respond immediately. Afterwards I wanted to stay as clear as possible in the technical zone and I succeeded. In the last sand strip I had a few meters to gain, although I only saw that when I turned onto the last straight line.”

Right way
Vandeputte had been very consistent in his performance for an entire season, but we had to wait for that real highlight. “The feeling of winning a classification cross is truly incredible. I’m very happy that it worked out this season. This is extremely important. I have made progress in recent years, but it is less noticeable this year if you look at the development of Joris and Pim (Ronhaar, ed.). The fact that I am now winning here shows that I am on the right track.”

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