Wellens needs to cede leader’s jersey in BinckBank Tour closing stage
Wellens has to settle with third place in the overall standings.
Tomorrow, Tim Wellens will start the fourth stage of the Tour de France as the leader in the King of the Mountains classification. The Belgian already attacked after three kilometres and got, partly due to a flat tyre, caught at fifteen kilometres from the finish. He punctured on the last climb and therefore could not join Julian Alaphilippe, who attacked from the bunch and went on to win the stage. Wellens was rewarded with the most aggressive rider award and the polka dot jersey. Tiesj Benoot was the first Lotto Soudal rider on eleventh place.
Tim Wellens: “It wasn’t the initial plan for me to go on the attack. Thomas De Gendt would try to go in the breakaway, but he doesn’t get a lot of space. After all those years, the other teams of course have come to know him. I only had to move along once and I was already in the right breakaway of the day. The cooperation with my fellow escapees went very smoothly and we built up an advantage of six minutes quite easily, but when the peloton started accelerating, I noticed I had to attack because the tempo in the breakaway wasn’t high enough. So I attacked at 45 kilometres from the finish line, because I knew I was the strongest rider up front.”
“Initially I attacked because I wanted to take the points for the polka dot jersey, but at one moment I started believing there could be more. Immediately thereafter, the peloton started picking up the pace and winning became a lot more difficult. At the foot of the last climb, I had a flat tyre, so I had to stop. Luckily, I was able to get those last two points for the polka dot jersey, but following Alaphilippe and going for a better result was no longer possible.”
“Beating Alaphilippe would be very difficult, but you never know. Maybe I could keep up with him and get a better result. That being said, I am very happy with the polka dot jersey. There will be no danger of losing it tomorrow. On Wednesday and on Thursday, there are a lot more points to win and then it will depend on the shape of the day if I can be in the breakaway again and keep the jersey a bit longer.”