The Tour de Wallonie started on Tuesday from Genappe (Walloon Brabant), for a 186 km-long stage, passing through the province of Namur, towards Héron (Liège). Even thought this opening stage featured constant up-and-down sections, with a total of four climbs listed and an uphill finish, no major difficulty was expected to stop the sprinters to share the spoils.
Very quickly, Baptiste Planckaert and six other riders were able to extricate themselves around Villers-la-Ville and gain a lead of one minute. However, the peloton never left them more than a 1 minute 30 gap, which is why the fugitives were caught after the Côte de Froidvau, located at kilometer 90.
For the remained of the stage, the peloton and several counter-attacking riders played cat and mouse, however nobody could avoid a bunch sprint at Waret-L’Evêque. Italian Andrea Pasqualon took 15th place as Groenewegen (Jumbo) took the win and the first leader’s jersey.
Having snatched bonus seconds during the stage, Quinten Hermans & Planckaert are respectively 7th and 8th on GC. Tomorrow, the organizers have rescheduled stage 2 around the Circuit of Zolder, instead of the initial crossing of the province of Liège, from Verviers to Herve.