Tim Wellens abandons Giro d'Italia
Illness forces the stage winner to leave the race
Lotto Soudal couldn’t claim a podium place at Amstel Gold Race today, but did have two riders on top ten. Tim Wellens crossed the finish line as sixth, Jelle Vanendert got tenth. Tiesj Benoot abandoned the race just before the last lap.
It took a long while before the race really started in the peloton. After Gasparotto and Kreuziger had caught six remaining members of the early breakaway just ahead of the last lap of 15.7 kilometres, also a group with Tim Wellens bridged to the front. There were several attacks, including from Tim Wellens. With two kilometres remaining Michael Valgren Andersen rode away, with Roman Kreuziger; whom he beat in the sprint. Enrico Gasparotto was third. Nineteen seconds after the winner Wellens finished sixth and another seventeen seconds later Jelle Vanendert crossed the finish as tenth.
Tim Wellens: “I am happy with the way the race developed and with how I felt, but I am disappointed with the final result. We bridged to the front group with six riders, after jumping away from the group of favourites. A bit later we were left with eight at the front. Then it became a cat-and-mouse game. We all attacked in turn and then you need to be lucky that there is some hesitation at the moment that you go. That didn’t happen when I attacked, but it did happen when Valgren and Kreuziger attacked and that marked the decisive moment. Maybe that Valverde and others kept an eye on me. It’s very unfortunate that my attempts didn’t lead to the success that I had hoped for. I can be satisfied with my performance, but I had hoped for more.”
Tiesj Benoot: “I felt very good for most part of the day. When we rode over the Gulpenerberg the second time I was on top five of the peloton at the top and also on the Kruisberg all was going well, but on the Eyserbosweg I lost all power and stood almost still. I left the race before the last lap. I had hoped for more, but this can’t be changed. We’ll see tomorrow if I race both Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”