Benoot and Wellens preview Il Lombardia
Final race in Lotto Soudal shirt for Tiesj Benoot.
After the impressive solo of Thomas De Gendt in Saint-Étienne yesterday, Lotto Soudal again battled for a stage victory in the Tour de France today. In a hilly stage with finish in Brioude, Belgian Lotto Soudal rider Tiesj Benoot was part of a fifteen-rider move that would go for the stage win. The breakaway was gradually thinned out until only Tiesj Benoot and Daryl Impey remained at the front. The duo would eventually sprint for victory and it was the South African who took his first ever stage win in the Tour. Tiesj Benoot could – after an impressive performance – step on the podium to collect the fourth most aggressive rider prize for Lotto Soudal. Tim Wellens keeps on wearing the polka dot jersey.
Tiesj Benoot: ‘I targeted the victory today and did not ride this stage to win the most aggressive rider award, obviously. To finish second of such a strong breakaway is already huge but when you’re in such a position, you want to win of course. With Daryl Impey, I probably had the quickest rider of the break alongside me. The South African is able to win reduced bunch sprints, then you just know it will be difficult. I tried to surprise Impey in the sprint and corner him but that wasn’t enough to turn it to my advantage.”
“During the stage, I felt really strong, I tried to take the initiative myself in order to thin out the group of fifteen, which also succeeded. It seemed that I would have been able to beat Roche but Impey is of course a different story, the section downhill to the finish also did not play into my hands.”
“I wasn’t feeling great the past two days, so this performance brings good news. I clearly found my good legs back. With still eleven stages to go, there will come some more opportunities. The team is in a good flow and I am sure there will be some more chances for Thomas, Tim and myself to get in the breakaway during the second and third week.”
Photo credit: ASO - Pauline Ballet