Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux was one of the teams at the start of this first edition of the Clásica Jaén Paraiso Interior (1.1, 14/02), a spectacular race containing 37 kilometer of gravel roads, divided in seven climbs. At the end of the challenging race of 187 kilometer, Loïc Vliegen contributed tho a particularly successful Valentine’s weekend for the Belgian World Team.
Vliegen was fifth in the Tour of Murcia two days before and was again present in the front when a decisive split in the peloton was made with 50 kilometer to go on the Santa Eulalia climb (5.5 km at 5.8%). Vliegen was in a strong rider group on the top, with his compatriots Kobe Goossens and Jan Bakelants in the first chasing group.
Behind Lutsenko,Vliegen battled for the podium on the two final passages on the non asphalted climb towards Úbeda (6 km at 5.5%). With guts, Vliegen came back in the chasing group after a mechanical and finished third after almost five hours of effort. Goossens crossed the line in 12th place.