Belgian Debusschere wins local race after Brussels attacks

Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:27pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Local favorite Jens Debusschere gave cycling-mad Belgium something to cheer about on Wednesday when he won the Dwars door Vlaanderen one-day race in Waregem, a day after the attacks on Brussels.

Islamic State bombers killed at least 34 people on Tuesday in the most deadly attacks in the Belgian capital's history and organizers considered cancelling the race.

They decided, however, that the event would go ahead as scheduled and no incidents were reported along the 199.7-km course.

Most riders were wearing black armbands in memory of the victims of the attack.

Some teams, however, were affected because several riders failed to arrive on time after Brussels airport, where one of the blasts occurred, was closed on Tuesday.

Spanish team Movistar only had four out of their eight riders at the start and Giant-Alpecin had none.

Lotto-Soudal rider Debusschere, the 2014 Belgian champion, perfectly timed his sprint to beat Frenchman Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) and another Belgian, Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo).

Several one-day classics are scheduled in Belgium in the coming days, starting with Friday's E3 Scheldeprijs.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond)