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by Shane Stokes
September 14, 2017
Photography by Today's feature image is from Switzerland and is by Tim Bardsley-Smith
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Belgium’s Tim Wellens marked himself out as a contender for the world road race championships with an impressive solo victory in the Grand Prix de Wallonie on Wednesday. The Lotto-Soudal rider was part of the day’s eight-man breakaway, then attacked inside the last 20 kilometres on the climb of the Tienne Aux Pierres.
He time trialled from there to the line at Citadelle de Namur, winning an impressive one minute 22 seconds ahead of teammate Tony Gallopin. The Frenchman was able to bide his time and then attack hard, reaching the line a second ahead of Julien Simon (Cofidis) and Wellen’s teammate Tiesj Benoot. Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) was fifth, while Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing Team) led in a chase group.
“I said this morning that I felt super-good, that I wanted to be a leader and that we had to make the course hard,” he said, according to Sporza. “That’s what the team did. The course was hard and the others sacrificed themselves for me. I should be grateful to them.
“In the end I could accelerate and get away because the others were tired. It’s nice to finish it here. Three kilometers from the finish I received congratulations from the team leader. That’s nice, and I could enjoy the Citadel a little. I want to hold super legs until the world championships.”
The decisive move happened on the Côte de Lustin, when eight riders went clear of an already-reduced lead group. Wellens then used this as a springboard, taking the win.