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Re: Wallonia Grand Prix - 13 September
« on: September 15, 2017, 00:07 »
Tim Wellens Puts Things Back in Order On the Citadelle

The Limburger Flew Over the Wallonia GP

(Le Soir - 14 September)

As Marion Rousse said (Tony Gallopin's wife who is more famous than him) on France Television, "only a Lotto rider or another Lotto rider should have won." [:lol] as the Lotto dominance and control of the event was characteristic of finale of this Wallonia GP beside their need to add another trophy after a shining Tour of Spain.

Throughout the race from Chaudfontaine to Namur other matters spiced up the whole case such rain at the start but most of all wind gusts which would have suited to a good Flemish classic.

It was an Autumn version of Ghent-Wevelgem, fighting against with natural elements. None of them justified the heavy crash of Jérôme Baugnies at the start of the race, his rescue by helicopter furiously recalls his teammates of Wanty-Groupe Gobert the drama that took their other teammate Antoine Demoitié's life, whom we will never forget. Jérôme Baugnies was third last year, which is almost his best performance [no love for Overijse ???].

Reassuring news about a surgery at the 8th vertebra University Hospital of Liège dissipated anxiety about Baugnies but the peloton still faced extreme weather conditions and in such circumstances, whether he admits it or not, Tim Wellens remains a phenomenon!

He who has recently deplored to us the smallness of his 2017 palmarès [see the article I posted in the Quebec/Montreal thread  ;)], his inability to win big races or at least to confirm his presence at the highest level [he mostly said to make progress compared to last year] juggled between raindrops, justifying his capacity to control elements that most riders hate.

To the extent of making it a trademark?

No but I agree that the conditions were favourable. A few days ago I was not on the startlist. My decision was made according to my legs, the route and perhaps also a bit the rain. Most of all Maxime Monfort was first named but he's left me his dossard. #4! I took it
Tim Wellens was celebrated between two 100 year old trees because it was for a moment discussed whether the finish could still be kept on the Citadelle.

The rider of Nandrin still has health issues and decided to withdraw. So Lotto-Soudal came with three leaders: Tony Gallopin, Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens. The first one to take initiative would get the advantage but at Lotto Soudal Tony Gallopin would rather wait.
Tiesj Benoot also had the legs to do it. I think he's very disappointed because well the road was clear for him. He is 4th, Tony Gallopin is 2nd and I win. Sorry but it's hard to get better.

The opposition could not do anything. This ballet sprinkled with Belgian riders. Only Julien Simon (Cofidis) sneaked into a losing battle, despite the presence of Jan Bakelants (5th), Dylan Teuns (6th) or Gianluca Brambilla (8th).
Tactically wise, it was easy. We cut the race from the Côte de Lustin on, with Jelle Vanendert. Then Tiesj Benoot attacked and then I attacked as well. I knew that if I could take a 30" lead rather quickly, it was done because there was no opposition behind, or actually yes, but much less represented than us, collectively speaking.

Tony Gallopin at his ... Former Team's Service

For of the Lotto Soudal riders yesterday had raced in Canada. Only one was not planned: the winner Tim Wellens who had to replace Maxime Monfort still suffering from the problems that had him retire from the Tour of Spain. As to wish him to heal soon, Tim Wellens said several times: "Merci Maxime".
This being said I had already shown in Canada that I had good legs. Weather conditions ended up convincing me and most of all to help take responsabilities, which does not question my role in the Belgian team in Bergen. The two leaders remaining Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert but I probably won't be the first to wind-shelter them.

The reasoning is clear and is typical of Tim Wellens, a selected rider in top form while Jan Bakelants is not. Tim Wellens seemed to act like Tony Gallopin's spokesman, defending champion but soon a rider for AG2R. Did this tranfer made the difference?
It's not the way we are reasoning in cycling. I am racing for Lotto Soudal till the end of the year. We had chances, even luxury. Several guys were strong. I considered anticipating with Tiesj Benoot and then Tim Wellens suggested to. With us behind and with the legs that he has there was no chance the victory could escape us. My only regret is that we could not make a perfect sweep. It shows that my team's interest mattered first. In any case I am relieved with regards to my form before the Worlds
Tony Gallopin will be France's leader in Bergen.
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