Sep Vanmarcke wins Bretagne Classic-Ouest France.

Belgian gathers first WorldTour win

Sep Vanmarcke got his first WorldTour win and 8th career victory this Sunday when he won the Bretagne Classic-Ouest France in Plouay. The Belgian timed his final move to perfection in the final kilometer of the race, allowing him to savor his win at the finish.

The 248-kilometer one day race lived up to its hectic reputation. The peloton split with 80 kilometers to go during an especially hard segment of racing. Both Vanmarcke and teammate Simon Clarke made it into the lead group, but a crash took Clarke out of contention, leaving Sep to go it alone.

Attacks came thick and fast from several riders with 30km to go, but a move including Vanmarcke, Mitchelton-Scott’s Jack Haig, and Lotto Soudal’s Tiesj Benoot 22km from the line proved to be the decisive one.

The trio pulled out a 42 second margin over the chasing group with one lap to go of the finish circuit, and were able to hold them off to the line. “I knew if I survived the last climb at 5km to go, I had a big chance to win,” reflected Vanmarcke.

And survive he did. Right as the three riders passed the one kilometer to go marker, Vanmarcke attacked and pulled away from the other two, who weren’t able to match his power. After building a sizeable gap within the last kilometer there was plenty of time to fit in a celebration before crossing the line.

“I’m super happy about this win,” said Vanmarcke after the finish. “I had to work long and hard and be patient to get a big win like this! I’m proud I could finally do it!”

The victory comes at the perfect time for the EF Education First team — after a tough few days at the Vuelta that saw heavy crashes that forced Rigoberto UránRigoberto Uran, Hugh CarthyHugh Carthy and Tejay van GarderenTejay Van Garderen to abandon, Vanmarcke’s result brought smiles across the entire team on Sunday evening.

“Sep is a guy who I can see being truly motivated to win because he knows the team needs it to lift everyone’s morale,” said the team’s CEO, Jonathan Vaughters. “It’s a testament to the strength of this organization. Everyone pulls each other up in the bad times. A beautiful thing to be a part of.”