Saint-Sauveur, Belgium - With an all-around effort over the course of four stages, Jasper Philipsen defended the maillot jaune on Monday’s penultimate stage to win the general classification title at Le Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux. In addition, the Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team captured its first team win of the season after three days of racing in the Wallonia region of Belgium.
Philipsen combined two impressive stage victories and a 4th place finish in the morning’s time trial with a 3rd place on Monday’s final stage to secure the victory.
“Getting the win feels really cool,” said a thrilled Philipsen. “But it’s not just a win for me but a win for the team. Everyone worked for this and everyone contributed. And to do it in Belgium makes it even better!”
Will Barta was a big contributing factor in the team’s success having closed out the 91 km final stage with a stellar 2nd place finish behind winner Stan Dewulf (Lotto-Soudal U23). The Boise, Idaho native’s 2nd place stage finish came only hours after a 2nd place finish in the time trial, efforts that put him into 3rd place in GC.
Happy with how well he performed, the twenty-two-year-old realized that it was his best GC result as a U23.
“I’m pretty satisfied with it, especially considering we won the race with Jasper,” said Barta. “We can take a lot of confidence going forward from it.”
Having donned the yellow jersey after the first stage, Philipsen and Hagens Berman Axeon teammates stayed vigilant across the final three stages of the race to keep him in yellow and hold on to their positions in the GC.
Ian Garrison, along with Barta, led the team’s effort to chase down late race breaks that formed and keep Philipsen out of harm’s way. Initially, Garrison and fellow teammates were unsure how aggressive the final stage would be, but were ready for a very aggressive, attack-filled stage that would come in an effort to take the jersey from Jasper.
“The race was aggressive, but the team was so strong that we were able to control and cover every threatening move,” said Garrison. “The peloton got smaller and smaller over the climbs with the finish coming down to pure power up the final climb.”
Garrison finished the stage in 4th, just behind Philipsen, and was 4th in GC, 25 seconds behind Philipsen. Joao Almeida was 42nd in the stage and placed 20th in the GC. Aussie Michael Rice was 37th in the final stage and 31st in the GC.
“Today is the result of a strong individual who has not been the least bit selfish,” remarked sport director Koos Moerenhout. “The most important thing for us was to have as many riders as we could up in the GC before the TT. Once we did well in the TT, life was a lot easier.”
(Header image of Jasper Philipsen by Joyce Jason Ghijs)