Road

Jonas Rickaert takes victory at Dwars Door Het Hageland

26-year-old Belgian drops breakaway companion Nils Eekhoff in final kilometer to take the race.

Jonas Rickaert (Alpecin-Fenix) won Dwars Door Het Hageland after dropping Nils Eekhoff (Sunweb) in the twisting final through the center of Belgian town Diest.

Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix) took third.

The 180-kilometer race through northern Belgian included 14 dirt road sections across farm tracks, with several packed into the final 80km.

Although not drawing the strongest lineup, Zdenek Štybar, Florian Senechal, and Quinn Simmons took to the start among a startsheet packed with cyclocross stars including Tim Merlier and Toon Aerts.

The race came down to a group of 15 at the front after the selection was made on a long dirt road section, with Eekhoff and Rickaert among them. The pair clipped away from the bunch with 30km remaining, leaving the chasers looking at each other, fracturing and failing to cooperate in the pursuit.

With the group behind faltering, the lead duo took a 30-second gap and held it into the criterium style closing loop in Diest. The pair remained locked together until the final kilometer, where Rickaert accelerated clear over a short paved climb to take the biggest victory of his career.

Top-3

  1. Jonas Rickaert (Alpecin-Fenix): 4:20:20
  2. Nils Eekhoff (Sunweb): +00:17
  3. Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin Fenix): +00:16