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BinckBank Tour (7) - Smith shows class with new top 10 spot in Geraardsbergen, Dehaes attacks

BinckBank Tour (7) - Smith shows class with new top 10 spot in Geraardsbergen, Dehaes attacks

On Sunday Kiwi Dion Smith showed his class again in the final stage of BinckBank Tour (2.WT, 07-13/08) finishing in Geraardsbergen. In the flat, very fast opening hour the riders rode an average of 51.3km/h. Kenny Dehaes was motivated and our sprinter joined a 9 rider breakaway together with Tony Martin and Elia Viviani. On the first passage of Muur van Geraardsbergen "Zoef" summitted as 3rd, but with 40 kilometers to go he was caught by the reduced bunch. The peloton was futher reduced by Sagan and Van Avermaet on the 2nd climb of de Muur, Bosberg and Denderoordberg. In the final Jasper Stuyven accelerated and headed to victory on De Vesten. Dion Smith and Frederik Backaert survived the stage in the wheel of the best riders in the first group. Smith sprinted to 9th spot, another top 10 place after his 10th spot in the Ardennes stage on Saturday. Frederik Backaert finished 16th. In the final GC Smith advances to 17th spot, Xandro Meurisse finishes 25st.

Dion Smith:

"It went reasonably well today. The team rode well together. The first 120 kilometers were pretty calm. We just cruised through the flat countryside. 20 kilometers before the Muur we were together and I was in top 20 of the first ascent of de Muur. I tried to ride in front the rest of the day and that went pretty succesfull. After the first split I was in front together with 12 other riders. But everything came back together which was a bit of a shame. I still managed to do a good sprint and take a new top 10."

"I didn't really know what to expect after the Tour, my first grand tour. My legs are definitely quite tired. But my fitness is so much higher right now and that is what got me through. There was no real pressure this week, maybe Hilaire put some on us but we saw what we could do against these big teams and we took some good results. I am very positive about this week."

"It will be around 2a.m. when I return home in Girona (Spain) tonight. This week I will take some good rest again, which is quite essential. Afterwards I will head to Druivenkoers in Overijse and GP Plouay."

Hilaire Van der Schueren:

"I saw Dion Smith tried to go after Stuyven in the final, but I advised him to wait and go for a good result in the sprint. He achieved two top 10 spots here and also Backaert finished 16th after a tough Tour de France. I think we should be happy, also with 17th in the final GC. We showed we have our place between the best teams in the world. I have nothing to worry about, I am a satisfied sports director."

"For Kenny Dehaes it was important to finish this race with an eye on the upcoming races in which he can take a win. He showed himself in a positive way today."

"Dion Smith is a real allrounder. He can take on tough races. We should remember that for the spring classics. He can achieve a good result in both Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. That will be a tough choice to make."

Results Stage 7 (Essen - Geraardsbergen)

1. Jasper Stuyven
2. Philippe Gilbert + 00:01
3. Tom Dumoulin
9. Dion Smith 
16. Frederik Backaert + 00:09
53. Xandro Meurisse + 04:37
62. Pieter Vanspeybrouck
75. Kevin Van Melsen + 08:09
76. Mark McNally 
120. Kenny Dehaes + 10:19

Final GC

1. Tom Dumoulin
2. Tim Wellens + 00:17
3. Jasper Stuyven + 00:46
17. Dion Smith + 03:20
25. Xandro Meurisse + 10:30
57. Frederik Backaert + 23:02
87. Mark McNally + 33:29
108. Kevin Van Melsen + 39:15
109. Pieter Vanspeybrouck + 39:22
122. Kenny Dehaes + 46:05