Benoot and Wellens preview Il Lombardia
Final race in Lotto Soudal shirt for Tiesj Benoot.
Tiesj Benoot secured his fourth place in the general classification of the Tour de Suisse today. In a short but brutal stage with the Nufenen-, Gotthard- and Furkapass, the 25-year-old Lotto Soudal rider did not let his nice spot on the general classification slip through his fingers. The final stage was won by the Brit Hugh Carthy, who produced an impressive solo. Benoot finished seventh today. The Colombian Egan Bernal takes the overall victory.
Tiesj Benoot: “Of course, we wanted to try and have a shot at the overall podium today, but with such a hard stage in front of us, the legs would do all the talking. With the finish after the descent, I needed to take some advantage but eventually, holding on to fourth place was the highest possible thing today. During the ascent of the Furkapass, I was close to my limit and racing defensively was the only option. Otherwise, I would have certainly still tried something today.”
“In the first part of the race, teams like Team Ineos and Bahrain-Merida controlled the race and during the first two climbs, I felt that the pace could still be increased. For a moment, there was a little panic as I punctured on the Gotthardpass but luckily, I was able to get back to the group of favourites thanks to a quick wheel change. That was a crucial thing with the descent in sight.”
“Of course, I am really satisfied with my performances in the Tour de Suisse. Before the race, I never thought I would have been able to finish fourth overall. With the feeling I had during the final week of training in the Sierra Nevada, I hoped to obtain a place inside the top ten, but it’s always difficult to say so after two months without racing. Finishing eight seconds from the podium maybe is a pity, but I am also only one second ahead of the fifth rider on the general classification.”
“This performance gives me a lot of confidence towards the Belgian Championships and the Tour de France. It is nice to see the good shape confirmed with a nice result. A stage win remains the ambition for the Tour de France. A Grand Tour is something different to a one-week stage race, so we don’t need to adapt the goals.”