While most eyes of the cycling world were focused on the Tour de France on Sunday, rising Belgian talent Floris Van Tricht took his first win in Israel – Premier Tech Academy colors at Midden – Brabant Poort Omloop.

Van Tricht finished 12th in last Sunday’s Belgian nationals – in the same group as the likes of Arnaud De Lie, Jasper Philipsen, and Wout Van Aert, all of whom are competing in the Tour – so his form going into this Dutch one-day race was evident.

The 23-year-old European Gravel Champion won a two-up sprint against home rider Casper van der Woude after the pair broke clear in the closing kilometers of the pan-flat race that features six sectors of pavé and narrow roads throughout.

“This is an important victory for me,” says Van Tricht. “I took confidence from the Nationals last week, and I knew that I could win a race like this, so I’m really happy.”

Making the victory even sweeter for Van Tricht was the fact that he has had to face adversity throughout 2024.

“I had a knee injury that required surgery in February, then after my third race back I caught COVID, so it was a bad start to the season for me,” he adds. “This is an important victory.”

Van Tricht and van der Woude went clear late on, forming a two-rider split after numerous attacks by their other breakaway companions proved unsuccessful.

“I knew there would be a lot of attacks, I expected them, and I think I played it well,” he says. “We worked very well together until the last kilometer – he attacked me there but I could respond easily, so I took confidence that I could beat him.”

Academy Manager Tim Elverson praised the team’s performance, pointing out that IPT started with just five of the permitted seven riders, but still claimed the victory and a top-10 finish with Kiwi rider Kiaan Watts.

“These Dutch races are tough to control,” says Elverson, “and we started with just five riders due to some last-minute sickness, so we had to change our tactics. Controlling all day was going to be too tough with riders missing.  

“We had to be present in any strong break and counter moves, and the riders did this well in a hard race. Finally, a group of seven got a gap with around 50 kilometers remaining and it had all the key teams represented.

“Floris is in good form and, following attacks from this group in the final 15 kilometers, he got away with one other rider. They quickly got a 30-second gap and the rest is history.

“Behind we covered everything and Kiaan came in for ninth place, so it was a great job by everyone.”