Tiesj Benoot, dad on Tuesday and top 10 of Flèche wallonne on Wednesday: “My preparation? Two meal trays at the hospital”

The happy event finally happened… Tuesday evening, on the eve of the Flèche wallonne. While everyone expected him not to start, the rider from Visma | Lease a Bike appeared, all smiles, in Charleroi on Wednesday morning.

”I became a father last night to a little girl called Loes”, he explained proudly at the start, with his eyes filled with as much happiness as fatigue. “I admit that I did not have the ideal preparation. I spent Tuesday alongside my wife and I didn't have the opportunity to cycle a single meter. And all I ate was…two hospital lunch trays. Last night, I didn't sleep much but hey, those are secondary things when you become a dad. I guess I’ll have to put my energy elsewhere.”

And during the race, while the Dantesque conditions had already got the better of many favorites, frozen, Benoot was still there. However, if there is one who had every reason to go back and warm up on the bus to go find his family as soon as possible, it's him. But that's not the style of the house. Benoot – who was the announcer's favorite – weighed on the race until the final, notably by making his teammate Tim van Dijke roll.

But on the last ascent of the Wall, he was not able to give a final push. In the end, he finished 9th. A small feat given the circumstances. And he will, obviously, still be at the start of Liège-Bastogne-Liège this Sunday. Even if until then, the nights still look very short…

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