Stijn Devolder collects 3rd Belgian championship

Devolder was left off RadioShack's Tour team, but says his victory was not intended as vengeance

Stijn Devolder (RadioShack-Leopard) became Belgian champion for the third time in his career on Sunday, winning by nearly a minute ahead of Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

Devolder’s teammate Jan Bakelants rounded out the podium in third.

World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) could manage only sixth place.

Devolder, who won the Belgian tricolor jersey in 2007 and 2010, escaped 25km from the finish and never looked back.

He was not selected for RadioShack’s Tour de France squad. However, Devolder declined to call his victory a bit of revenge for being left off the team.

“I just want to enjoy this title,” he said. “I was very well prepared. I saw a new dream.”

Meersman, who took the runner-up spot for a second time in his career, conceded that Devolder was the strongest man, noting that when the RadioShack rider attacked, “everyone knew he would win.”