Heading into the final kilometre of the European Championships men's road race, Christophe Laporte looked to have victory in the bag. An incredible effort from Arnaud De Lie brought Wout van Aert back in contact though and despite the fact Laporte held on, it was a brilliant effort by the young Belgian.
“We talked five kilometres from the finish. This was a great opportunity for Wout. Too bad he comes second," says De Lie in a post-race interview with Sporza after finishing fourth behind Jumbo-Visma trio Laporte, van Aert and Olav Kooij. "Laporte was incredibly strong."
Christophe Laporte crowned European Champion after thrilling finale; Van Aert and Kooij complete podium in Jumbo-Visma 1-2-3
"When Laporte attacked, Wout was in the group. I was behind it with other favourites such as Kooij and Pedersen," De Lie, who rides for Lotto Dstny usually recaps disbelievingly. "I don't know how he pulled away, but he was really strong.”
After Laporte went clear with 12km to go he was still clear ahead into the finale. As De Lie launched though, the gap closed drastically and once van Aert came off his compatriots' wheel it looked for a moment as if victory would be heading to Belgium but it was not to be. “Maybe I still had the legs to win, but yes. Don't know. Maybe I joined the VAM too early," De Lie concludes.