INTERMARCHÉ
WANTY GOBERT

Tour de Wallonie

Solid collective opening on the Mur de Huy


The Tour de Wallonie started this Saturday with an explosive finish on top of the Mur de Huy, for the first time in the event’s history. The riders had to cover the Mur a first time with 35 kilometer to go, followed by the finish on top of the second time at the end of the stage of 174.4 kilometer.

At home, the World Team took its responsibilities to control the early breakaway of five riders, who escaped shortly after the start on the aerodrome of Namur. The work of Kévin Van Melsen in the lead of the peloton resulted in a reduced time gap of one minute at the foot of the first passage on the Mur de Huy.

A complete peloton then started the final climb to contest the stage win. The runner up of the Italian championships, Lorenzo Rota, took sixth place, 5 seconds behind the winning world champion Julian Alaphilippe. Despite a crash with 15 kilometer to go, Loïc Vliegen finished eleventh ahead of Biniam Girmay, twelfth. This solid collective performance enabled Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux to lead the team classification after this opening stage.

À domicile, la World Team a pris ses responsabilités en tête de peloton pour contrôler l’écart avec l’échappée matinale de cinq coureurs, partie tôt après le départ sur l’aérodrome de Temploux. Le travail de Kévin Van Melsen en tête de cortège a ainsi permis de ramener les fuyards à un peu plus d’une minute au pied du premier passage du Mur de Huy.

Un peloton complet s’est présenté au pied de l’ascension finale pour se disputer la victoire d’étape. Le vice-champion d’Italie Lorenzo Rota a pris la sixième place, à 5 secondes du champion du monde Alaphilippe. Malgré une chute à 15 kilomètres de l’arrivée, Loïc Vliegen se classe 11ème devant Biniam Girmay, 12ème. Une solide prestation collective qui permet à Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert d’occuper la tête du classement par équipes à l’issue de l’étape d’ouverture.

This Tour de Wallonie is my first race in one month and three days ago I concluded an altitude camp in Livigno. It always takes some time for the legs to adapt, but despite this I managed to take sixth place. It’s looking good for the next stages, starting with the one of tomorrow which probably suits me better as it is harder in the middle of the race. I’m also optimistic because we have a strong team, we’ve seen it today. Kévin Van Melsen lead the peloton for a long time, Biniam Girmay and Aimé De Gendt helped me well during the stage. It is a pity that Jan Bakelants and Loïc Vliegen were held up by a crash in the final. But there are still four stages to come and we can reflect about different strategies to improve our GC, for example by attacking.

General Classification

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