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Echoes

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Tour of Wallonia
« on: July 02, 2017, 20:23 »
The Tour of France is almost over. Only three weeks remaining. It's time to move on.  ;)

The Tour of Wallonia was created in 1974 as the Tour of Western Hainaut but was also called The Three Days of Péruwelz, Tour of Hainaut, Four Days of Western Hainaut, the Tour of the Walloon Regions (1994-1995; the name I first got accustomed with). It was opened to pros in 1996 with the Tour of the Walloon Region and got the name Tour of Wallonia in 2007.

A High-Level Tour of Wallonia




(Sudpresse – 15 June 2017)

By Stavelot and Brussels, the race (22nd-26th July) could be decided right from the first stages

The 38th edition of the Tour of Wallonia will go through Wallonia, from East to West in five stages, between the grand start in Stavelot and the finale on the Mur de Thuin. The profile seems heavy.

A few weeks having welcomed the Tour of France on a part of the F1 circuit [Spa-Francorchamps], the town of Stavelot will host the start of the Tour of Wallonia (22nd -  26th July), astride on the last weekend of the Tour of France. A relief that the mayor Thierry de Bournonville appreciated since his town had to renounce to the passage of Liège-Bastogne-Liège [due to the roadwork on the Stockeu and Haute-Levée, that was], last April.
Quote
The roadwork on the Stockeu descent demand time but despite all the odds we hope we can find the Oldest back next year

Stavelot is at the centre of the famous trilogy [Wanne-Stockeu-Haute Levée]. The Tour of France will pass on the F1 circuit in the Verviers to Longwy stage, the day after the finish in Liège while the start of the Tour of Wallonia will be in front of the splendid “Saint-Remacle” abbey.

Brussels as Rehearsal

Combining the two is perfectly thinkable for a very heavy Tour of Wallonia start. The first two stages will be essentially in the Liège province and will have a major impact on the rest of the race because the ranking will be disputed from the very first day. It’s true that once you start from Stavelot the setting is inviting its climbs with it, most of them around the finish in Marchin with the climbs of Ereffe, Bohissau and Ben Ahin, three key climbs of the Walloon Arrow. The next day between Chaudfontaine and Seraing, there will be few recovery parts for the survivors of the previous day, even though the finale to Seraing could enable sprinters to get back. On Monday 24th July, the third stage will be wholly held in the Luxembourg province between Arlon and Houffalize. The Saint-Roch climb in Houffalize will be a serious decider. It’s one of the first climbs on the Liège-Bastogne-Liège route. This time it will be in the finale and they will have to climb it twice.

It’s often forgotten that the Tour of Wallonia is … Wallonia-Brussels. As a coincidence Brussels will host the start of the fourth stage in “rue des Attelages” in the “Bois de la Cambre”, as an appetizer less than two years before the start of the Tour of France [I didn’t know about that, well …]. The profile between Brussels and Profondeville is this time clearly favourable to sprinters, which they won’t forget to appreciate. Finish on the “chaussée de Namur” in Profondeville [being raised in Namur, I can tell you that Profondeville is a very rich town upriver of the Meuse compared to Namur and where the Meuse is still clearwater, facing some impressive cliffs! :), sometimes referred to as the Saint-Tropez of the province].

Finally, if the winner still needs to be decided on the last stage, the three ascents of the Mur de Thuin can account for that. There will be 20 teams: 6 WT, 10 ProConti and 3 Conti. The 20th will be chosen between Aqua Blue, Larry Warbasse team, winner of a stage at the Tour of Switzerland, and Quick Step who needs an authorization from the UCI in order to send their stagiaires. A piece of information that consolidates the idea that the Belgian team will carry on in 2018.

Stéphane Thirion

/////

The Mur de Thuin is a relatively short cobbled climb. Danny Van Poppel won a stage there. I think it was in 2015. In the 1960’s and the 1970’s it was the final decider of the Walloon Arrow, making the race more suited to Flandrian types than to Ardennes types.

You have the details on the startlist and the stages on the right.

I've visited the Tour of Wallonia, several times.

Looking back in files, I've been a bit upset noticing that I had pictures of the late Wouter Weylandt and Kristof Goddaert.  :(

Wouter, that was at a stage start in Andenne (2009):



Kristof, that was in Wanze, along with Nikolas Maes (2010):



Other pictures from Andennes 2009:



Stijn Devolder signed the start sheet very late and missed the start.  :D Notice the town hall at the end of the square. You have the Lion of Flanders above. It's on the Andenne coat of arms as well as on the Namur coat of arms because the Count of Flanders used to be Count of Namur as well.  ;)

Other pictures from Wanze 2010 (with Kris Boeckmans in the purple jersey back in the days he raced for Topsport  :)):



A couple of pictures from Soignies 2013 - Greg Van Avermaet & Tim Wellens before they were legends  :D (but I already posted them here: http://velorooms.com/index.php?topic=3000.0)

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  • « Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 13:31 by Echoes, Reason: Index »
    "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)

    Echoes

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    Re: Tour of Wallonia
    « Reply #1 on: July 06, 2017, 21:26 »
    Actually a stage start in Brussels formally speaking does not belong in the Tour of Wallonia. Brussels is a historically Dutch-speaking city, the Brussels dialect is Germanic, close to Dutch. However with the "Belgian independance" in the 19th century, the town quickly "gallicised", so the people in Brussels started to speak French. Hence the weird Brussels accent which the French loved to parody claiming it was the Belgian accent but actually only restricted to Brussels (and even nowadays you would not hear it anymore or hardly so).

    Wallonia is a region in which people historically spoke different varieties of Walloon dialects (not exactly because around Mons and Tournai, people would speak "Borain" which is a variety of "picard" and around Virton near the Lorraine and near Luxembourg, people would speak "gaumais", which is closer to "lorrain". Anyway, never has any varieties of Walloon been spoken in Brussels. The map shows that Brussels is actually outside of Wallonia. A bit like a GT starting outside of its country.  ;)

    Forgot to mention that the defending champion is Gregory Habeaux of Liège, who is on the picture above.

    The maps of the different stages:

    Stage 1 Stavelot-Marchin 189.9km, though a distance of 192.7km was first announced.  :shh

    Climbs: Côte de Werbomont (cat. 2, km 35,7), Côte de Warre (cat. 2, km 94) Côte de Bohissau (cat. 2, km 142,6), Côte de Ben-Ahin (cat. 1, km 165,9), Côte d’Ereffe (cat. 1, km 176,3 et 186,7 km).





    Christophe Brandt's comment:

    Quote
    « Cette première étape du Tour de Wallonie sera une des plus dures, à mon sens. Si sa première partie est relativement facile, la seconde partie en direction de Marchin est plus ardue avec, notamment, la Côte de Ben-Ahin à 24 kilomètres de l’arrivée, et deux fois la Côte d’Ereffe dans le circuit local final où on peut entrevoir une possible sélection. De plus l’arrivée est en bosse également. »

    This first stage of the Tour of Wallonia will be one of the hardest in my opinion. While its first part is relatively easy, the second one to Marchin is a lot heavier with among others the Cöte de Ben-Ahin and twice the Cöte d'Ereffe in the final local circuit where you can expect a possible selection. On top of that the finish is also uphill.

    Stage 2 Chaudfontaine - Seraing 192.8km

    Climbs: Côte de Rafhay (cat. 2, km 11,1), Côte de Thimister (cat. 2, km 23,9), Côte de Spitzberg (cat. 1, km 67) [in the small German speaking part of Belgium ;)], Côte de Fays (cat. 2, km 85), Côte des Becco (cat. 1, km 93,9), Côte de Playe (cat.12, km 108,2), Côte du Ry d’Oneux (cat. 2, km 124,1), Côte du Petit Berleu (cat. 2, km 133,5), Col de Bonsgnée (cat. 2, km 155,2, km 179,4 km).

    The Col de Bonsgnée is 1.4km long with a 4% average gradient.



    Christophe Brandt's comment:

    Quote
    « Paradoxalement, cette 2e étape n’est pas la plus dure du Tour de Wallonie, même si on y comptabilise 10 GPM. La finale à Seraing est très abordable. Je dirai que cette étape est à l’image de ce que les coureurs attendent du Tour de Wallonie: une relance de la saison et une préparation pour la suite. Le but est que les coureurs travaillent pendant la course. Le parcours n’est certes pas hyper-facile, il y a donc de quoi faire. Dans cette 2e étape, un sprinter complet pourrait tirer son épingle du jeu. Cela étant, si le peloton se met à faire la course dès le départ, ça peut donner tout autre chose à l’arrivée. »

    Paradoxically this 2nd stage is not the hardest one of them even though there are 10 climbs. The finale in Seraing is really doable. I'd say this stage reflects what the riders are expecting of a Tour of Wallonia: a restart of the season and a preparation race for what comes next. The aim is for the riders to work during the race. Though the route is not super easy, there's room to create something. In this second stage an all-round sprinter could get a way with it. This being said if the peloton starts making the race right from the start, it can bring something radically different at the finish.

    Stage 3 Arlon-Houffalize 181.4km

    Climbs: Côte Le Terme (cat. 1, km km 56,9), Côte de Givroulle (cat. 2, km 120), Côte de Bresménil (cat. 1, km 146,3), Côte de Bonnerue (cat. 2, km 156,3), Mur Saint-Roch (cat. 1, km 168,4, km 181,4).






    Brandt's comment:

    Quote
    http://Cette troisième étape est assez facile dans sa première heure, le parcours étant tracé sur des routes bien larges et sans difficultés. Il faut attendre Herbeumont pour trouver la première difficulté du jour: la Côte Le Terme. A partir de La Roche-en-Ardenne, le retour vers Houffalize est plus corsé avec 5 GPM dont deux fois le Mur Saint-Roch dans le circuit local. Aux coureurs de jouer

    This thirs stage is rather easy in its first hour, the route is designed on rather wide roads, climb-free. You only have to wait for Herbeumont in order to find the first obstacle of the day: the Côte Le Terme. From La Roche-en-Ardenne on, the return to Houffalize is harder with five climbs including twice the Mur Saint-Roch on the local circuit. The riders are to play!

    Stage 4 Brussels - Profondeville 164.1km

    Climbs: Côte de Peu d’Eau (cat. 2, km 91,9), Col de la Charlerie (cat. 2, km 143,3).





    Brandt's comment:
    Quote
    « Nous allons vivre une belle traversée de la Wallonie entre Bruxelles et Profondeville. Cette étape est la plus facile du programme 2017. On peut envisager un sprint massif à Profondeville après un circuit final où le seul « Col de la Charlerie » donnera une opportunité aux attaquants. Les 3 derniers kilomètres sont en ligne droite, propices, donc, au sprint. Mais si les coureurs font la course dans la finale, le scénario final pourrait être différent. »

    We shall see a nice crossing of Wallonia between Brussels and Profondeville. This stage is the easiest of the 2017 programme. You might expect a bunch sprint in Profondeville after a local circuit in which only the "Col de la Charlerie" will give a chance to the attackers. The last 3 kms are in straight line, so favourable to a sprint but if the riders are doing the race in the finale, the story could be different.

    Stage 5: Chièvre - Thuin 184.4km

    Climbs: Mur de Thuin (cat. 2, km 157,6, 169,8 et 182,0).





    Brandt's comment:
    Quote
    «La première partie de cette 5e et dernière étape, au départ de Chièvres, est facile. Les choses se corsent dans le circuit final où le Mur de Thuin, à franchir à 3 reprises, sera le juge de paix, comme d’habitude. Je pense que cette étape, aussi, répond aux attentes des coureurs d’avoir des parcours de qualité pour favoriser le travail en cette période de reprise pour une partie du peloton. »

    The first part of this 5th and last stage, starting in Chièvres, is easy. Things are getting hard in the final circuit where the Mur de Thuin - to climb 3 times - will be the decider, as usual. I think that this stage also match the riders expectations in having quality routes in order to favour hard work in this resumption period for a part of the peloton.

    http://www.trworg.be/tw/trw2016annonce.php
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Tour of Wallonia
    « Reply #2 on: July 22, 2017, 10:38 »
    I don't know why I said Gregory Habeaux was the defending champion. :fp It's definitely Dries Devenyns but he won't be present as Quick Step pulled out of it.  :S It's definitely Habeaux on the picture in the OP though.  ;)

    Punchers on the Assault of Wallonia




    Bryan Coquard, Jelle Vanendert and Edward Theuns are on the Cover...

    (Sudpresse - 22 July)

    From Stavelot to Thuin, the Tour of Wallonia will carry the riders on a more varied and selective route than usual. It is a chance for punchers to test themselves in the perspective of the rest of the season while caring for their resume with a possible interesting victory.

    Christophe Brandt - Head of TRW Organisation - knows that you do not change a winning recipe but since he's a perfectionnist he's had the good idea to add some ingredients of his own by little touches. Reading the profile you immediately notice a harder route.
    Quote
    The riders are coming to get some rhythm as it is a resumption race. Long flat stages in which breakaways are escaping and lock the race are not helping the work on tempo.

    That justifies the existence of 5 160 to 192km stages including the three first ones which despite not being Ardennes classic are still very selective.
    Quote
    The moment you start in the Liège province, it is hard to design something flat and if you finish in Houffalize, how can you skip the Côte Saint-Roch?

    All in all a race that should prove nervous in the finales and favourable to strong men but not impossible for sprinters. Most of the announced fast men should manage to express themselves, like Jonas Van Genechten who is motivated with a finish on his land at the Mur de Thuin.

    While the race deplores Quick Step's absence for calendar reasons, Lotto-Soudal will send Jelle Vanendert, 4th last year with a young squad.

    Christophe Brandt is the race organiser but also the manager of Wallonie-Bruxelles and is ambitious for his riders.

    Quote
    This time we needed to make choices, which means that we could select eight guys in good form. It's a good sign. A stage win remains the initial aim.  As far as the general classification is concerned we shall see on Monday where we stand.

    With regards to Team Ago's hopes their priority is to get experience in a race that is superior to those they are usually racing.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Tour of Wallonia
    « Reply #3 on: July 23, 2017, 13:59 »


    On the GP Cerami thread I pointed out that Benjamin Thomas (Armée de terre) was a rider to watch out for. He was 4th in the breakaway group with Wout Van Aert, Jempy Drucker and Dries Devenyns.

    Now here he comes winning the first and queen stage of the Tour of Wallonia in Marchin, ahead of Xandro Meurisse, the former cyclocross rider of Wanty Groupe Gobert #wanty and Dylan Theuns  #bmc (sorry on the post above I mixed Edward with Dylan. Edward is not present :fp), Jelle Vanendert  #lotto and Tosh Van der Sande #lotto are 4th and 5th.

    Benjamin Thomas is the dual World Champion on the track (Madison with Morgan Kneisky and Omnium) and already a stage winner at the Four Days of Dunkirk, then already 4th at both the Tour of Limburg (it seems he's always 4th when Van Aert wins  :D) and the Tour of Luxembourg (5th in the prologue).  :)

    http://www.hln.be/hln/nl/952/Wielrennen/article/detail/3214673/2017/07/22/Benjamin-Thomas-steekt-eerste-rit-op-zak-in-Ronde-van-Wallonie.dhtml



    Benjamin Thomas broke away with 4km to go and held off a reduced peloton.

    The early breakaway of the day consisted of Russian Igor Boev, Dutchman Peter Koning, Frenchmen Jimmy Turgis (so Anthony's older brother), Alexis Gougeard (natural born attacker!) and Kevin Ledanois and Belgian cyclocrosser Quinten Hermans. The 6-man group was caught with 30km to go whereafter a sprint seemed unavoidable but Benjamin Thomas prevented it.



    Looks like it was a disappointing stage for what was supposed to be the hardest of them all.  :S






    Post Merge: July 23, 2017, 14:13


    Quote
    The stage was hard with a 3/4 head wind that created echelons. I knew I had to be well placed in the local laps. Katusha wanted to impress us with an attack but I manage to answer it and kept on my effort which I equate with a track effort, which means short and intense. I'm happy I could win in a race that I'm discovering. By the same token, I got the leader's jersey which I'm eager to defend in the next few days.

    Ben's reaction on the race's off website.


    By the way Benjamin Thomas is end of contract with Armée de terre and is gonna be hard to keep for them. It seems like he's heading straight to WT. Amazing rider!  :)
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  • « Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 14:13 by Echoes, Reason: Merged DoublePost »

    Echoes

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    Re: Tour of Wallonia
    « Reply #4 on: July 24, 2017, 20:15 »
    So Jasper De Buyst won Stage 2 in Seraing. Apparently Christophe Brandt was right. It was a stage in which strong sprinters could survive the hills. Benjamin Thomas crashed :( and hence lost the race lead to Dylan Theuns.

    Sudpresse article today



    De Buyst Wins in Seraing. Theuns in Yellow

    Christophe Brandt wanted a race with more rhythm and a more nervous one. The first two stages proved him right. Considered the more selective of them all, the first stage starting in Stavelot last Saturday provided lots of attacks in the last hour, including the decisive one by Benjamin Thomas. Helped with his track skills (World Champion Omnium & Madison), the Frenchman of the Armée de Terre team won in Marchin. That is the confimation of a sure talent for the rider who has already won a stage in the Four Days of Dunkirk and was 4th at the Cerami GP last week. Last Sunday however, he yielded stardom to two Belgians. After a long breakaway a packed peloton came together in Seraing. Jasper De Buyst emerged ahead of Danish Michael Morkov and the Frenchman of Wallonie-Brussels Justin Jules. Benjamin Thomas crashed, lost ten seconds and was hence second overall 1 second behind Dylan Theuns.

    This Monday's stage to Houffalize over the Côte de Saint-Roch in the finale could be decisive for the GC. When you bear in mind that Dylan Theuns was third at the Walloon Arrow, BMC could have ambitions.

    ------

    Indeed Dylan Theuns wins in Houffalize and extends his lead at the GC, 32" ahead of Tosh Van der Sande.







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  • Echoes

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    Re: Tour of Wallonia
    « Reply #5 on: July 25, 2017, 19:54 »
    A First Prestige Win For Dylan Teuns: The Rider of Diest Flew Over the Mur Saint Roch in Houffalize



    (Sudpresse 25 July)

    Quite frankly among the young Belgians who were expected a golden future on hilly routes, Dylan Teuns showed all guarantees: style, profile, weight, height, etc. The rider of Diest - kept in the U23 ranks by BMC Development like Loïc Vliegen of the Land of Herve - had to show his weapons and to prove his skills later with the pros in a high-profile World Tour team. Not easy to make yourself your own with Tejay Van Garderen, Richie Porte, Philippe Gilbert or Greg Van Avermaet. Not even easy to find a domestique role.

    Dylan Teuns had to be patient. So did Loïc Vliegen. But last Monday in the ruthless double ascent of the Mur Saint Roch in Houffalize Dylan Teuns was led out by Loïc Vliegen first to catch the last survivor of the earlier breakaway - Alexis Gougeard - before making a final decisive attack in a pure climber-puncher style and thereby consolidating a yellow jersey that he had conquered the day before but most of all thereby winning the very first race of his career.

    In Houffalize it was hardly 11°C [:o]

    Dylan Teuns said shuddering (his blue eyes opened to inifinity!):
    Quote
    It's unbelievable. When I saw the route along with Loïc, we sure had ideas. It's been a while since we've been predicted a nice future. It was the chance to prove it. I admit that this Tour of Wallonia is magic for us. In the first three stages there was a chance to "make" the race. Winning was the cherry on the cake. I obviously knew the Mur Saint-Roch quite well from Liège-Bastogne-Liège but it is not the same when it's close to finish.

    About his 3rd place at the last Walloon Arrow:

    Quote
    It's a bit the same finish here though with a more depleted field. It's a confirmation of my nice spring but it's not over.

    The Tuesday stage is reserved for sprinters in theory but the final Wednesday stage should suit Dylan Teuns when another "mur" is expecting him  [The Mur de Thuin, that is]
    Quote
    Yes but I don't know that climb. Usually I'm training in the Ardennes but I figure that it can suit me.

    Dylan Teuns still is under contract for one year with BMC while it announced last Monday the end of BMC development. [:S] That was his own U23 team. That is a bad news at the international level but a good news for Belgian development teams who would like to recruit juniors as some talents are showing up...

    [Along with that article I've scanned the article about Greg Van Avermaet - still #1 at the World Tour and about the criterium in Sint-Niklaas at which Greg Van Avermaet, Thomas De Gendt & Primoz Roglic are announced  ;)]

    http://www.dhnet.be/video/loic-vliegen-bmc-a-lance-dylan-teuns-vers-la-victoire-59761284cd706e263efddcfb?playlist=5469d9fc3570dd3441dc4e5f

    Video interview of Loïc Vliegen (with his funny Liège accent  :D) for La dernière heure:

    Quote
    Yes I knew that Dylan had good legs. He's got the jersey. I knew that if he won today we would be very close to winning the Tour. Now I think he's got a nice lead and it will be easier to handle it in the next few days. So that's it. I've sacrificed myself today but well it's all for the good cause. We win. So that's great.

    Apparently there used to be a slight feud between Teuns and Vliegen during a U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Loïc had already been "forced" to race for Dylan who did not finish off, while Loïc was the strongest that day but they hugged each other yesterday so I guess they are reconciled.  :lol

    --------------

    Jempy Drucker wins the third stage in my family's region, Profondeville.  ;) Makes it two in a row for BMC. He outsprinted Adam Blythe and Jonas Van Genechten.

    Nice to see that Kevyn Ista attacked with 9km to go, along Pim Ligthart on a nice unclassified climb. It didn't prevail though. Kevyn is doing a nice season thus far. He's the only rider I've had the pleasure to meet and talk with, at a party. A very discrete and sober guy! Seems a little shy too, I'd say.  :)







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  • Echoes

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    Re: Tour of Wallonia
    « Reply #6 on: July 26, 2017, 19:53 »
    I've just seen on Youtube a clip of the  :live: coverage  the last 20km of the final stage (fortunately without being spoiled before).


    It was really a race to enjoy. First the cyclocrossers from Fidea were present: Toon Aerts in particular but also U23 rider Nicolas Cleppe (if I'm not mistaken!). And Corne Van Kessel finishing top10

    Then it's a confirmation that Alexis Gougeard  is a beast, a natural-born attacker with amazing fighting spirit! He's been on the attack in at least three stages here. I still remember him attacking on the Capo Berta last spring.  #ag2r


    I really like the Mur de Thuin as well. In my youth (the nineties), no race that I remember had it on its route but I've often been told about it because first it's not far from where I lived and second there's so much history behind it but it's really a Flandrian kind of climb in the Walloon heartland. No surprise that a champion such as Rik Van Looy (heavyweight cobble specialist) could win the Walloon Arrow at age 35, the crowning achievement of his career, with that climb as decider. Obviously, on the Mur de Huy, it would have been a different story. The cobbles don't look too nasty but they still make their effect, at the look of it.

    I like it that Lotto-Soudal  #lotto made attempts. Nikolas Maes paving the way for Tosh Van der Sande's attack. The former on the last but one ascent of the Mur de Thuin. Tosh in the final ascent. Only Dylan Teuns proved way too strong but they cannot have any regret. They gambled and lost.  :)



    Post Merge: July 26, 2017, 19:55


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  • Echoes

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    Re: Tour of Wallonia
    « Reply #7 on: July 26, 2017, 21:47 »
    “One of the Most Beautiful Finishes”

    (Article from La nouvelle gazette in the regional section of the Charleroi edition, Thuin being just a few miles from Charleroi. La nouvelle gazette belongs to the Sudpresse – Today as a preview of today’s stage)



    The Peloton Loves Thuin, its “Mur” and its Infatuation

    This Wednesday, Thuin and its “Mur” will thrill at the Tour of Wallonia beat… and the spectators will assiduously cheer for local hero: Jonas Van Genechten. The Cofidis sprinter was third in the bunch sprint last Tuesday and is impatient to climb the Mur de Thuin.

    In 2015 Jonas Van Genechten was 15th at the finish in Thuin. This Wednesday the rider born in Strée is also hoping to get in front. Third in the 4th stage from Beussels to Profondeville, the sprinter lacked success but does not surrender on the eve of finding his childhood area back.
    Quote
    I’m much better than previous years at the same period. It’s a finish for which you need to save energy. I fear an attack by Dylan Teuns [rightly so] in the “Mur”. A very strong puncher can create a big enough gap to reach the finish line solo, as Danny Van Poppel did in 2015. My position at the start of the Mur de Thuin will be crucial. I can follow a strong tempo in the ascent of it. The ideal race scenario will be an ascent without incisive attack for then the stage can reward a solid sprinter. It’s every time a pleasure to come back. Everybody does not have the chance to race on his training roads and in front of his own family and friends. The public is always present, which changes from the finish in no man’s land where you have no spectators… We love our sport of public fervour in the key moments of the race. In my opinion one of the most beautiful finishes in Wallonia [he may not say anything else of course]. It’s an exciting finale for all riders, a historical finish which we would like to see for preserved the ages. For Thuin it’s just a bonus to host such a major sporting event.

    Jonas Van Genechten knew that he was not among the top favourites for stage win but he expected a lot of cheers during the ascent of the Mur de Thuin.

    All the “Thudinians” [that is how the inhabitants of Thuin and surroundings are called] will be there for him. So says, Paul Furlan [socialist Mayor of Thuin, who had to step down as Walloon minister after a fictitious employment scandal :fp]
    Quote
    A group of supporters that I belong to will be in the “Mur” to see Jonas. The whole town is hoping to see him raise the arms in Thuin. A lot of people from Binche will come for [Gordon] De Winter [one of the numerous De Winter brothers :D].

    Paul Deman is doing everything he can to see the peloton of the Tour of Wallonia compete for the win on the Mur de Thuin wishes to see the race coming every year from 2020 on.

    Quote
    We’ve lodged a request to have the “Mur” as final finish of the race for 5 or 10 years in row. The organizers showed a sure interest for that. The Tour of Wallonia is growing but the great classics such as the Walloon Arrow or Liège-Bastogne-Liège have identical finishes every year. The Town is ready to make major road reorganization if this investment is covered by several editions of the race.
    Paul Furlan is a die-hard cycling fan but has another project. He’s to meet Christian Prud-homme for a Tour of France stage finish at the Lakes of the “Eau d’Heure”.
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    Re: Tour of Wallonia
    « Reply #8 on: July 26, 2017, 22:35 »
    For completeness' sake, the final GC:


    Thanks for the coverage, Echoes!
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  • 2017 0711|CYCLING PR Manager; 2016 Stölting Content Editor
    Views presented are my own.
    RIP Keith

    Echoes

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    Re: Tour of Wallonia
    « Reply #9 on: July 27, 2017, 21:18 »
    Revelation of Dylan Teuns: The Ardennes Rider Who Does Not Speak French!



    (Sudpresse – 27 July)

    The Tour of Wallonia is true to what has always suggested since created: reveal champions. The 2017 edition did not fail at this tacit rule and it’s all the more satisfactory that the winner, Dylan Teuns, is a real prospect for Belgian cycling. The 25 year old rider of Diest has a peculiar feature. He’s never raced for any Belgian team as he was stuck in the BMC Development team, like Loïc Vliegen was, which he does not regret.

    “I’ve Learned a Lot in Five Days”

    It’s obviously easier to say afterwards, all the more when you won the race. Some race! For Dylan Teuns, the Tour of Wallonia is a birth, in the same success wave as his 3rd place at the Walloon Arrow behind the cream of world cycling. Two stages, the final classification: the Belgian raised himself to a new level in five days! Yet he says he remains realistic.

    Dylan is shy and his French is broken [so that means he still can speak it, actually!].
    Quote
    Yet I can name to you all the climbs of Liège-Bastogne-Liège by heart! Within a few days, I’ll be told that other champions have won the Tour of Wallonia without ever confirming afterwards but I’m no fool. I’ve consulted the palmares of it and saw names like Paolo Bettini’s. I’ve learned a lot in those five days, including one essential thing: the importance of a team in the build-up of a success. The greatest of all is that we won an extra sprint stage with Jempy Drucker. We really controlled the race on every level. That is what impresses me the most.

    In five days, Dylan Teuns was released of a similar pressure as Tiesj Benoot’s at Lotto-Soudal: finally getting his first victory. You can have a flattering reputation and insane talent, nothing is easy when you have to finish it off.
    Quote
    I agree on that. My victory in Houffalize was a trigger. Everything was easier afterwards, in Thuin in particular. The finish suited me less with the cobbles at the start and in the end I got my markers and also challenging opponents such as Tosh Van der Sande and Bryan Coquard. Then it was pure joy when you can give the guys “a coin” (sic) and finish alone.

    Classics or Tour of France?

    Dylan Teuns is the youngest of a generation punchers who are getting older such as Greg Van Avermaet, Philippe Gilbert, Valverde. Could he emulate them?
    Quote
    An absolute dream… I’m racing with Greg, used to race with Phil. I admire them. I’ve often been asked whether I had the profile of a stage rider of single-day rider. It’s impossible to answer at my age because I like everything but probably the classics more.

    One of them is irradiating his nights with dreams, since this level-headed young man never has any nightmere.
    Quote
    Liège! It’s the World’s most beautiful race, even though I have never raced the Tour of France nor other things.

    Dylan Teuns is also the evidence of that BMC Development training was successful despite the fact that the disappearance of the team has been confirmed this week, which is not good news for cycling.

    Stéphane Thirion

    ------------------------------------

    I saw on the race chat that it struck some of you that Dylan Teuns was answering in English at the RTBF microphone. I couldn't see any stage live but as a Walloon (born & raised) with Flemish roots and fluent in the other language, I would really find it shameless of RTBF not to offer Dylan to respond in Dutch. In the seventies and eighties, Théo Mathy (former charismatic RTBF commentator) would always offer Flemish riders to answer in their first language. Some like Fons De Wolf chose to answer in French on their own accord. Riders should be entitled to their native language. They are not expected to be speak many languages but they are expected to perform on their bikes...  :angel
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Tour of Wallonia
    « Reply #10 on: July 29, 2017, 09:43 »
    The Mur de Thuin Decisive & Full of Animation



    (regional section of La Nouvelle Gazette – Charleroi edition – on 27 July)

    Yellow Jersey Dylan Teuns Made the Show

    The Mur de Thuin matched expectation last Wednesday during the final stage of the Tour of Wallonia. With three ascents on its narrow cobbled street, the “thudinian” climb played its role as decider of the race, in front of an animated crowd.

    They were already present and reactive during the first ascent of the caravan at around 3.20pm. The public were shouting loud to push the riders towards the end of this five-day tour…. Finished with a Dantesque ascent. Explosiveness and physical freshness were to make the difference on this 500m long Mur (9.4km average gradient). Early in the afternoon, there were already a lot of amateur cyclist wishing to defy this climb with the applause of a good-natured crowd behind the barriers. A lot of people from Thuin and nearby villages gathered together in the “Mur” in order to celebrate cycling but also a lot of cyclinf fans did not hesitate to make it all the way from Flanders in order to attend the key moment of the Tour of Wallonia.

    Quote
    We were lucky enough to attend the end of the tour this year. This event gives animation to the town and it has become a tradition for us to come with our grandchildren from the Mur de Thuin
    witnessed Michel Martin of Thuin.

    If the publicity caravan still rejoices children as always, most spectators were waiting for another great moment: Jonas Van Genechten passing by.

    Local hero Jonas Van Genechten was greatly cheered for, notably by his kin and friends who took out boards (see on the picture in the upper right corner).

    Originally from Strée [that is less than 10km South of Thuin, close to the French border], the Cofidis sprinter knew the roads of the local lap like his pocket and found back some of his truer fans there:
    Quote
    I could hear my name shouted about everywhere on the road side and see my family, which pleased me a lot. I have some sporting regrets. Knowing the finale, I tried to play it smart saving energy until the key moment but Baptiste Planckaert’s crash cut the peloton into two parts with a few kilometers to go. I made the effort to get back but the leading men were a bit too far ahead on the approach of the Mur de Thuin. I’m aware that the finish is not ideal for me but someday I hope I can do something here.

    Family and friends even gathered around the Cofidis bus after the race.
    Quote
    We are proud to see him race at that level, win nice races, get top10 places every season. The cyclotourist clubs are rejoicing equally as we are to see him race here. I’ve been supporting him for over 15 years? I also was in Profondeville last Wednesday to see the sprint finish. We were with about 30 of us to see him pass three times. We had to break free in order to cheer for him
    says Jonas’ uncle Claude with an “Allez Jonas” board.

    In any case the town of Thuin will have honoured the Tour of Wallonia and proved that it was able to welcome its finale every year!

    The “Thudinian” Clubs Were Honoured

    Under a shining sun the numerous spectators needed fresh soft drinks during the race. The “Cycloroch Thudinien” club was doing the service at the top of the “Mur de Thuin”.

    Quote
    It was a great chance to see pros pass and to do an activity all together. With this ‘pump room’ we hoped to promote the club and make some money as well.
    says Damien [Wazelle], the club’s treasurer, based in Ragnies.

    “Friendly Atmosphere”

    With some 40+ members the Cycloroch Thudinien even opens its doors to some new subscribers and showed all its cheerfulness:
    Quote
    We met a lot of cycling enthusiasts, including speakers of Dutch. Symbolically it mattered to us to be at the key place of the race and in the midst of this friendly atmosphere, which we feel strongly about. We chose to leave the available spaces on the square for the bigger youth-developping structures which need a bigger budget and place that remains animated for several hours after the race. We are very happy to have spent those three hours on the ‘Mur de Thuin’ among the crowd.

    http://www.cycloroch.be



    I like the club’s logos.;)



    This Jonas Van Genechten picture (which is directly taken from the Nouvelle Gazette website and is smaller on the article above) shows that the cobbles are nastier than they look on the telly (the way I see them). They really are nastier that those of the Citadelle of Namur but probably much less so that the Kapelmuur’s, for instance. But I really stand by my point that it’s on the level of many climbs of the Flemish Ardennes. :cool
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