Wellens on the way
Lotto-Belisol’s talented young stage racer takes his first WorldTour win in the Low Countries
Guardini continued a great run of form when he won the opening stage in Terneuzen. After winning two stages at the Post Danmark Rundt, this was his third victory in six days.
It wasn’t all smiles on
stage 1. On the loop below the Westerschelde estuary, the peloton battled strong winds and rain. One casualty was Orica- GreenEdge’s Damien Howson, though he gingerly restarted.
More than just a
leader’s jersey came Zdeněk Štybar’s way when he won the sprint into Vlijmen – it was also the 50th road race win of the season for Omega Pharma- QuickStep. He won a cask of Primus beer for his efforts, too. Cheers!
(Giant-Shimano) face is the picture of concentration in the pan-flat Breda TT, which he won. The young Dutch rider beat the old master, Fabian Cancellara ( Trek Factory Racing) by a very slim two seconds. front group contests the stage 4 sprint in Ardooie, Belgium. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr), who had announced he was off to Cofidis in 2015, still had the hunger to lead home the group.
Minutes later, Omega
Pharma- QuickStep riders traipse over the line after concernedly watching Štybar, the Czech champion, be lifted into an ambulance with facial injuries after a bad crash in the finale.
Showdown on the
Muur. Here, Lotto Belisol’s Jens Debusschere climbs to the Geraardsbergen chapel. He’d been in the early break but by the time he hit the Muur the race was over and the Belgian champ was a mere photo op.
Instead, BMC’s Greg
Van Avermaet beasted his way up the Muur and edged out race leader, Dumoulin at the top of the iconic Ronde van Vlaanderen climb. Pavel Brutt (Katusha) finished third. It was Van Avermaet’s first win in more than a year. cobbled bergs to Wallonia’s steep côtes, stage 6 saw the riders tackle the mounts of Liège- Bastogne- Liège in a 173km stage from Heerlen to the most famous côte of all, La Redoute.
In a pulsating
finale, Lotto- Belisol’s Tim Wellens attacked a depleted front group of 30. He overturned more than a minute’s deficit on GC to take his first WorldTour win and the race lead.
After taking the
leader’s jersey the day before, Lotto- Belisol were under attack. They had to ride hard all day to keep Wellens’s position secure as Belkin and Giant-Shimano sniped. Here, Debusschere undertakes a bidon run.
Despite the flurry of
attacks on the 183km stage, Lotto- Belisol held firm. And in Sittard- Geleen in Holland, Wellens pulled on the leader’s jersey one last time. Here, he’s flanked by Boom in second and Dumoulin in third.