Wellens also wins the time trial in Andalusia!
Wellens extends his leading position after an extraordinary performance.
Tim Wellens finished third in Plouay today after a wet edition of the Bretagne Classic Ouest-France. The Lotto Soudal rider arrived at the finish together with Oliver Naesen and Michael Valgren Andersen. It was Naesen who sprinted to victory.
After Quick-Step had considerably reduced the lead of seven early escapees it was Tim Wellens who opened up the finale with seventy kilometres to go. Together with among other Zdenek Stybar, he bridged to the leaders and a front group of fourteen riders was established. With about twenty kilometres to go, the decisive selection was made at the front. Wellens got ahead with Oliver Naesen and Michael Valgren Andersen. These three riders entered the local lap of 14.7 kilometres together. Their advantage over their nearest chasers grew and became sufficient to remain ahead and battle for the win. None of them managed to leave the others behind, not even on Côte de Ty-Marrec, and a sprint would decide about the victory. Naesen beat Valgren Andersen and Wellens finished third.
Tim Wellens: “The third place was the highest possible result for me today. I helped to start up the finale and I have to admit that soon after that, I had not much left in the tank. I jumped away from the bunch on a short off-road section. We cooperated well and managed to take enough lead over the bunch. On the penultimate climb of the day, we got ahead with three. Then I realized that I wasn’t at my best anymore and that the third place would be the best I could achieve today.”
“Apparently I had been too eager along the way, but because it had started to rain and we had to ride over small roads with lots of turns, I decided to force a selection early. Eventually we got ahead with the three best riders of the race. I helped to create sufficient lead over the chasing group, but then I let Oliver Naesen and Michael Valgren know that I was okay with becoming third. I can live with this third place, although you always start to win of course. But I know my condition is good and I am looking forward to my next goals: the Canadian races and the World Championships.”
After yesterday’s short opening time trial the first stage in line was scheduled at La Vuelta today, from Marbella to Caminito del Rey. Thomas De Gendt chose to go in the break today, but he got dropped because of cramps due to the fact that this was his first big race day since the Tour. All other escapees got caught too and it was Alejandro Valverde who won the stage, ahead of Michal Kwiatkowski who takes over the red jersey from Rohan Dennis. At the Deutschland Tour the last stage was contested today. André Greipel didn’t take the start anymore due to a throat infection, while Jelle Vanendert quit the last stage due to illness.