Tim Wellens played a leading role on the second day of the Ruta del Sol. After a few kilometres he got in front with four others: Felix Großchartner, Xandro Meurisse, Antonio Nibali and Georg Preidler. They had eight minutes lead with 75 kilometres to go. About ten kilometres further Tim decided to go solo. In the finale he crashed at a roundabout. He quickly got back on his bike and continued his solo ride.
Today’s finish was on the Alto del Águila. The GC riders wanted to win the stage and the gap got smaller very fast. Tim got caught with five kilometres to go. Thibaut Pinot won the stage, as he passed by Alberto Contador in the last hundred metres. Contador is the new GC leader. Bart De Clercq was the first Lotto Soudal rider at the finish. He got nineteenth.
Tim Wellens: “I only have some abrasions, so I am not too damaged after my crash. The crash didn’t bother me during the race either. This morning before the start, I decided to join the break today. I lost several minutes yesterday and wasn’t a threat to the GC riders. I didn’t deliberately lose time yesterday. The team protected me on the way to the Monachil, but my legs exploded on the climb. My GC ambitions were gone. I decided to change the time loss in something positive.”
“At first we were working really well together, but at a certain moment the pace went down and I chose to go solo. I really believed I could win. It was not the crash that was fatal, but the nature of the course. In the finale we rode on large roads and there was a headwind. If I am not stiff from the crash tomorrow, I will go full gas in the time trial. The last two days I will work for the team, because it are two stages for sprinters.”
At the Volta ao Algarve it was a summit finish as well today. The break of the day consisted of eight riders. With sixty kilometres to go Edward Theuns attacked in front. Also he wouldn’t make it. On the final climb Quick-Step Floors set the pace. The peloton fell apart. The stage ended with a battle between Dan Martin and Primoz Roglic. Martin won the stage. Lotto Soudal had two riders on top ten today: Tony Gallopin finished eighth at 36 seconds and Tiesj Benoot tenth at 46 seconds.