Winner of the Tour de Côte d’Or in 2019, Sten Van Gucht failed to double the lead last weekend. Saturday’s third stage winner (I read here), Bourg-en-Bresse member Ain Cyclisme finally finished on the podium at the end of the last day this Sunday (see ranking). The 29-year-old Belgian returns to DirectVelo In this last step future deadlines are discussed.
DirectVelo: You tried everything to topple the general in the Tour de Côte d’Or!
Sten Van Gucht: That’s what we tried. I said I didn’t want to race to lose Julian Sutton and let someone else win. In the middle of the race, before the final circuit, there was a moment with the side wind where I overtook. Gwen Leclench and Giacomo Balabio accompanied me while Julian was at the back. Gwen was a bit thorough, but Giacomo wasn’t and I don’t feel he gave 100%. Giacomo was in front of me in the seats, so he had to make the difference. It’s a shame because if we can get back to the front of the race before Julian gets back to us, we can bend the overall classification because we have the team members up front. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way.
Julian was so strong.
Can’t make any differences in the sharp final circuit?
The final circuit was intricate with a headwind at the top of the first bump. On the second bump, we could attack, but its length was 1.5 kilometers and we could not blow up Julian. I was hoping to tackle the top because I couldn’t stand doing the full hit at full speed, but everyone was at top speed and I couldn’t do anything. Julian was very strong and deserves congratulations on his victory.
Why didn’t you try to follow Adrien Maire as he attacked on the last lap?
No, at that time I focused on my opponents in general. Instead, it was up to the other knights who were aiming at the stage to attack. And since I was way ahead of Julian and Giacomo in general, it wasn’t up to me to try anything.
“I’d like to double that number”
How do you feel about this third place overall?
Right. I used to go to war every day. I had good feelings from day one. Yesterday (Saturday), I won the stage. Today (Sunday), I tried everything for the General. It was hard to do better. I’m happy, I’m going to have some great races with the GP from Charvieu-Chavagneux, the Agglo Tour of Bourg-en-Bresse and Cours-la-Ville. With my current form, I feel ready to play for victory in these three races. I don’t see this third place as a missed opportunity, I know I will have others. I’ve already had four wins without running much. I would double that number. I always have the ambition to win.
What other stage races will be on the list?
Unfortunately, we don’t have any stage races on the program at the moment. We like to make a nice one in August like Kreiz Breizh Elites or Estivale Bretonne. The organization has to invite us and it will be complicated. If we can’t do that, we’ll do the shopping for a day. There will be three days left from Cherbourg and the Tour de Moselle at the end of the season and of course the Belgian championship. I’m not worried, the calendar will be full.