Belgian cycling Schaal Sels Merksem (BE) zondag 27 augustus 2023

Guillaume Van Keirsbulck takes the win in Antwerp Port Epic

Guillaume Van Keirsbulck takes the win in Antwerp Port Epic

Guillaume Van Keirsbulck won the Antwerp Port Epic on Sunday September 2nd 2018. The Wanty - Groupe Gobert rider finished solo after bad luck for his companion Jan Willem Van Schip on one of the unpaved sections. Aksel Nõmmela and Taco van der Hoorn were the other men on the podium.

Around 12 o’clock, 122 riders were present in the new start and finish zone at ‘t Eilandje in Antwerp for a race over 206 kilometers. After a flat introduction of sixty kilometers through the Port of Antwerp, the peloton turned off into the Antwerp Polder, to conquer about thirty kilometers unpaved and 32 kilometers of cobblestones.

However, four riders were not afraid of the track and went in the breakaway: David Boucher and Rob Ruijgh of Tarteletto-Isorex, Pawel Bernas of CCC Sprandi Polkowice and Lucas Eamon of Delta Cycling Rotterdam. The peloton gave his approval so the leading group could take a gap of more than four minutes.

But the chain of cobbles and unpaved sections seemed to be decisive cause only Bernas and Ruijgh remained in the front. In the meantime, a group of ten left the peloton, including three riders from Roompot – Nationale Loteirj and two from Wanty - Groupe Gobert. For Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (WGG), Martijn Budding and Jan Willem Van Schip (Roompot) the speed in the chasing group was not high enough and they accelerated. These three joined the two in the lead and despite the efforts of Veranda's Willems - Crelan, for Wout Van Aert, the advance of the quintet grew larger.

With 55 kilometers to go, Van Keirsbulck accelerated on the rough cobblestones of the Torenseweg. Only Van Schip, who won the Dutch version of the Antwerp Port Epic a few weeks earlier with the Slag of Norg, was able to connect. In spite of hard labor from Tim Merlier in the background, the advantage of the leading duo stayed around one and a half minutes. This was partly thanks to the four teammates of Van Schip, who were plugging in a perfect way.

With only a further 25 kilometers to go, Van Schip made a fault when turning up an unpaved section and fell down. Van Keirsbulck took twenty seconds and went full speed. Despite an acceleration by Van Aert, the winner was known. GVK had a lot of time to celebrate his victory. A minute and a half later the inconsolable Van Schip was caught up by the chasing group in the last hundreds of meters, where the Est Aksel Nõmmela (Beat Cycling Club) won the sprint before defending champion Taco van der Hoorn (Roompot).

"It was a tough race today. I gave my teammates the task to make the race hard early in the race. They did it in a solid way. We got away with a group and on the next unpaved section I accelerated again, this time with Van Schip and his team mate. Eventually we were left with two in the battle for the victory. Unfortunately Van Schip crashed, but that was also my luck, because dropping him would not have been easy”, said the winner after the race.

"I kept the pace high, until Van Schip had to let go in the chase. I had little race information, so I continued to ride all the way to the finish, where it appeared that Van Schip was already far behind. I like to ride the cobblestones and off-road sections. This victory is a nice farewell present for the team after two good years. Maybe I still have something in mind for the upcoming weeks."

Antwerp Port Epic 2018 – Top ten:


 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel)

Wanty - Groupe Gobert



 Aksel Nõmmela (Est)

BEAT Cycling Club



 Taco van der Hoorn (Ned)

Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij



 Wesley Kreder (Ned)

Wanty - Groupe Gobert



 Jan-Willem van Schip (Ned)

Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij



 Sjoerd van Ginneken (Ned)

Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij



 Piotr Havik (Ned)

BEAT Cycling Club



 Wout van Aert (Bel)

Vérandas Willems-Crelan



 Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned)

Development Team Sunweb



 Jeroen Meijers (Ned)

Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij


Or read the full result here.