Victor Campenaerts has abandoned the Belgium Tour after “going over the limit” while trying to keep up with Remco Evenepoel’s breakaway.
Qhubeka-Assos rider Campenaerts was able to follow superstar rider Evenepoel after he attacked 30km from the finish of stage one of his home Tour, with the pair bridging across to the existing breakaway.
Evenepoel set a blistering pace in the final, as only Campenaerts, Robbe Ghys (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Gianni Marchangd (Tarteletto-Isorex) battled to keep up with the Deceuninck - Quick-Step rider.
🎥 Also 'parcheggio' for Victor Campenaerts 😲#BaloiseBelgiumTour pic.twitter.com/ckjDfSFUxsJune 9, 2021
But on the penultimate climb of the day, time trial specialist Campenaerts suffered an attack of cramps as he tried to follow the wheel, which brought him to a complete halt at the side of the road.
Campenaerts, a stage winner in this year’s Giro d’Italia, was filmed getting off his bike as the break went to the finish, with Ghys eventually outsprinting Evenepoel to win the day.
Hours Record holder Campenaerts was able to finish the stage four minutes down on the leading group, but before the start of the individual time trial on stage two his team announced that Campenaerts would not continue the race.
Campenaerts said: “Yesterday the opening stage of the Tour of Belgium was epic. I was really super focused and the team was really motivated.
“I tried everything I could, I went totally over the limit and totally cramped at the end, as you could clearly see.”
While trying to keep pace with Evenepoel, Campenaerts said he reignited an injury that he had been suffering from during the 2021 Giro d’Italia, which eventually forced him to abandon the Grand Tour after day 16, just a day after he won his stage.
He said: "Unfortunately, the cramps hurt again the tendon that was inflamed in the Giro so we choose, with an eye on further objectives this season, not to take any risks. Tour of Belgium, I love you."
Campenaerts will be looking ahead to the major time trials training this season, particularly the Olympic TT at the Tokyo Olympics.
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