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Kévin Van Melsen : « Proud to have grown with one of the best teams in the world »

Kévin Van Melsen, true symbol of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, will end his professional cycling career after fourteen seasons in the colors of the Walloon World Team in the classic Binche-Chimay-Binche this Tuesday.

Kévin Van Melsen made several strong memories throughout his career in Binche, such as the passage of the Tour de France during his first participation in 2019, his fourth place at the Belgian U23 championships behind winner Dimitri Claeys in 2009, but also his six participations in Bunch-Chimay-Binche, the beloved race of the team and its partners.

Kévin Van Melsen, who joined the structure of Jean-François Bourlart in 2009, climbed the cycling levels from the amateur ranks to the World Tour, proving his loyalty and devotion. At the age of 35, the rider from Lontzen will now contribute to the development of the Walloon structure by building the new Continental Development team.

In his last race Kévin Van Melsen will race in support of his leaders, a role for which he was unanimously appreciated by his colleagues throughout his whole career. He will be accompanied by Alexander Kristoff, Biniam Girmay, Dimitri Claeys, Sven Erik Bystrøm, Hugo Page and Taco van der Hoorn. Steven De Neef and Aike Visbeek are the sports directors.

The parcours remains unchanged compared to the previous edition, who was won for the first time by a rider of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux thanks to Danny van Poppel. Following the rolling roads in the Hainaut province, the course goes via the French border to Chimay, before returning around the Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure. After 134 kilometer of racing the peloton will cross the finish line for the first time, before starting the four local laps and finishing on the cobbles of the Main Square in Binche after 198 kilometer.

« Binche-Chimay-Binche is with no doubt the best occasion to conclude my career, in the region where the hearts of numerous partners of the team beat. I think especially of the people of Wanty, who sponsor the team since my arrival in 2009. Even though I mentally prepared for this special event, I'm expecting very intense emotions this Tuesday. Crossing the line on the Main Square in presence of my family and the team will trigger much mixed feelings. On the one hand there will be some kind of sadness and nostalgia, but also proudness about what I accomplished. » « I gave the best of myself during these fourteen years. I experienced strong moments, but I also had to overcome obstacles. I realized childhood dreams, for example by participating in the Tour de France in 2019, and concluding our first Vuelta which was very exceptional. I had the honor to defend the colors of the team in three different Monuments and in almost all Flemish classics, often in the shadow of my leaders. I won't forget the heroic edition of Paris-Roubaix one year ago. The memories of events like these, though rows of spectators, will continue to resonate. But after all, what makes me proud most, is that I accompanied the progression of the team until achieving a position in the top five of the World Ranking. It is a good feeling to hang up my bike on a high for both myself and the team. »  « My last page as a professional bike rider will open a new chapter of my life with Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. Last season I had the responsibility to guide our youngest members such as Hugo Page, a mission that gave me a lot of satisfaction. That's why I'm very motivated to work on a daily basis with our future talents in the new Continental Development team. I worked a lot behind the scenes the last couple of months and I'm very much looking forward to the first gathering of the Continental and World Team at the end of the month! »



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