Wout van Aert and Christophe Laporte stole the show on behalf of Jumbo-Visma in Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday, but in the background another rider from the team showed plenty of potential for future editions of the Belgian one-day race. Olaf Koeij survived a hellish day in the rain with three passes from Kemmelberg and finished eighth.
Kooij has established himself as a recognized WorldTour sprinter within a few years, but this year in particular he is showing that he can also compete to win tough one-day races. After a tough race among the fans, he finished second in Classic Brugge-De Panne, followed by a beautiful eighth in Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. This boy is 21 years old, so he’s also coming for the classics. He showed today that he can win Gent-wivelgem one day,” says Laurens ten Dam in the Live fast slow ride Podcast.
Thomas Dekker joins in: ‘But he will also soon leave Jumbo-Visma. He won’t stay if he’s smart. With his qualities, you want to win a stage in the Tour de France and I don’t think he’ll be in a Grand Tour this year. It’s going to be a very tough story for him to ride the Tour in the years to come, with all those classification riders.
Decker: He should go to a team where they play their cards to the full
Nor is free’s role in spring rates certain in the years to come. Then you have strong riders like Van Aert and Van Baarle (Dylan, ed.) in the Spring Classic. Today could have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if everything had stayed together, but those are really few chances. I think he won ten to twelve races last year – more than ten anyway – that just has to go to a team where they play their cards fully, says Dekker.
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