"I have already proven that I can help Mathieu van der Poel" - Gianni Vermeersch boosts Tour de France hopes with victory at Dwars door het Hageland

Taking a thrilling victory on the gravel and cobbles of the edition of 2024 Dwars door het Hageland, Gianni Vermeersch has done his hopes of gaining selection for Alpecin-Deceuninck's Tour de France lineup no harm at all.

“I actually had little to no trouble. Only when I had to sprint flat out uphill did I feel that something was still there. But it was a stroke of luck," said Vermeersch in a post-race interview with Wielerflits, having taken the win ahead of Jonas Abrahamsen and Harthijs De Vries. “Abrahamsen did not participate, so that was a bit difficult. He is in very good shape. Especially when he launched another attack."

In the end though, despite Abrahamsen's best attempts at mind games, Vermeersch would not be denied, powering to the win in a thrilling finale. "I had to go very deep to be able to participate. From that point on I started to have doubts a bit and I didn't want to continue riding at full speed. Fortunately, de Vries came back, so I was able to play a bit of poker in the last kilometre. That was easy," he smiles. “I have already been second here once and third twice, but that victory was still missing. I'm very happy that it worked today."

As mentioned, with the Tour de France at the end of the month, the Tour de France is on the horizon so this was the perfect reminder of Vermeersch's capabilities for the Alpecin-Deceuninck bosses. "Does this mean I secure my Tour selection? I do not know. I have proven that the condition is good, but to prove yourself here for the Tour selection… I don't know if this is enough. We'll see. Next week the Tour of Belgium will also be important,” he assesses. "I have already proven that I can help Mathieu van der Poel a little. And at the beginning of the sprint train I can also do my thing every now and then. But of course it is up to the team to plan that.”

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