Ben Hermans came close to stage (and potential overall) victory in the Tour de Hongrie.

On an uphill finish, that got steeper and steeper towards the end, the Belgian climber put up a strong climbing show. Hermans nearly got Israel Start-Up Nation its second overall victory in Hungary (assuming tomorrow’s flat stage won’t result in any time differences).

Krists Neilands won the Tour de Hongrie in the #BlueAndWhite colors of the team in 2019. Before the queen stage in Hungary, Hermans revealed he had called the Latvian climber to get to know everything about the final climb.

Hermans was, as a runner-up, a bit disappointed after the stage. He blamed himself for waiting a bit too long with his acceleration.

“I feel that I stayed in the group of favorites a bit too long. They were on the max when the winner of the stage attacked. I closed in on him in the last few hundred meters, but it wasn’t enough.”

The Belgian climber finished seven seconds behind the winner and claimed the second-place spot in the general classification.

With one short, flat stage to go, in the center of Budapest, a podium spot on the final podium is in sight.

The team aims to keep Hermans safe, while the sprint train will contest another mass sprint finish.