Top ten for Benoot and Wellens in Strade Bianche
Lotto Soudal-leaders animate the race.
The Critérium du Dauphiné concluded today in Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc with the last of four summit finishes. The British rider Adam Yates won the final stage, his compatriot Geraint Thomas secured the overall victory.
Lotto Soudal was not able to take a stage victory in the Critérium du Dauphiné, but the team can look back on a strong collective performance. Victor Campenaerts just missed out on the podium during the prologue in Valence. The following day, Tiesj Benoot sprinted to a fourth place on the slightly uphill finish in Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert. In Belleville, Jens Keukeleire took the fifth place in a reduced bunch sprint. Lotto Soudal delivered an excellent performance during the 35 kilometres long team time trial and finished in third place. Only Team Sky and BMC were faster. Thomas De Gendt joined the breakaway in both stage five and six, but without success. Tiesj Benoot wanted to test himself during the mountain stages and finished fourteenth in the general classification.
Tiesj Benoot: “I suffered today. On the first climb, I ended up in the third group because of a sore back. I thought the race would be over, but after I did some stretching, things got better. On the second climb of the day, I could join the yellow jersey group again. Then I went all out till the finish line.”
“I end this race with a good feeling. I did not train intensively before the Critérium du Dauphiné, so this was my first intensive week. This was a good preparation for the Tour. Last year, the level was slightly higher in the Critérium du Dauphiné, which my values also prove. Then, my shape was a bit less in the Tour de France. The goal is to be better this year. I did not race for six weeks, so I expected this kind of result. I will have some rest now, do some intensive training sessions and then I should be ready.”
“The team was really strong this week, which has been confirmed in the team time trial. I think it is the result we should be most proud of this week. The team isn’t an expert in that discipline, but we are proud to have finished in third place in a WorldTour race. I hope we can repeat that performance in the Tour.”
“My next goal is the Tour de France, but every Belgian rider is also keen on winning the Belgian Championship. You have to be lucky in that race because it can be over very quickly. For sure, I am motivated, but we’ll have to wait and see how the legs feel.”
Two other races were scheduled today for Lotto Soudal. The Irishman Sam Bennett sprinted to victory in the 102nd edition of Rund um Köln. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider beat the Estonian Raim and the German Kittel. There was no top ten result for Lotto Soudal. The second stage of the Tour de Suisse ended in a reduced bunch sprint. World champion Peter Sagan took the victory ahead of Fernando Gaviria and Nathan Haas. Lotto Soudal rider Bjorg Lambrecht finished in eleventh place.
Tiesj Benoot: "I will have some rest now, do some intensive training sessions and then I should be ready for the Tour."