Edward Theuns was visibly delighted after his BinckBank Tour win in Lanaken. One year ago the Trek-Segafredo rider was full of doubts after a heavy crash in the Tour de France. Now his belief in a bright future has been restored.

"This victory is a massive relief," Theuns admits. "When I saw the 200-metre sign I was worried I'd started sprinting from too far back. Fortunately I managed to benefit from Lampaert's draft and take the biggest win of my career."

TWO MONTHS IN HOSPITAL

The 26-year-old Belgian has had to fight back after a dark chapter in his career. "Mentally and emotionally I've been through a very tough time," Theuns explains. "After that crash in the Tour I was stuck in a hospital bed for two months and I didn't believe I would ever come back to my best level."

Come back he did and Theuns finished a promising eight in this year's Paris-Roubaix. He then underwent another surgery te remove a couple of screws from his back. "The doctor told me it would take me six months to come back after that surgery, so I'm extra pleased I'm already competing at this level.

"That eight place in Roubaix gave me a lot of confidence and since that surgery my back is a lot better. My second place in Ardooie gave me another boost. Look at all the sprinters in this race, it's so nice to win. The future? I believe I can compete with the world's best sprinters. Hopefully I'll now get more chances to show that, although I realise Kittel is hard to beat when he's as good as in the Tour."

AIMING FOR THE GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

As for the BinckBank Tour, Theuns isn't quite done yet. "In our team Jasper Stuyven came into this race aiming for the general classification," the young Belgian added. "But I can get a good result as well. In the Ardennes it's up to me to follow the big guns. If that doesn't work out, it's no big deal. Then we'll aim for another stage win as a team."