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by Shane Stokes
January 27, 2018
Wellens wins Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana; Najar wins stage 5 and takes overall lead in Vuelta a San Juan; QuickStep riders hospitalised after being hit by a truck; Kwiatkowski chasing Flanders and Liège success in 2018; Gaviria to return to Colombia after San Juan abandon; Aqua Blue Sport riders to donate 5% of all prize money to fight against breast cancer; Detroit’s Lexus Velodrome to be officially opened Friday evening; Video: Mitchelton-Scott’s 2018 Race Melbourne; Video: Awesome Cycling – Downhill MTB, Street Trials & BMX Tricks
On a day which saw the breakaway dominate and finish over five minutes clear of the first part of the bunch, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) clocked up his first win of the year in the second event of the Mallorca Challenge. The Belgian rider outsprinted Sky’s Gianni Moscon to the line at the end of the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was third, 24 seconds back, with Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) at 27 seconds and Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-hansgrohe) at 37.
Early on Sondre Holst Enger (Israel Cycling Academy) went clear and built a gap of over four minutes, but he was reeled in on the Sa Batalla climb. Valverde attacked and went clear with Wellens, Moscon, Brambilla and Mühlberger. Valverde was in what was his second race since his big crash in last year’s Tour de France and attacked repeatedly, including inside the final ten kilometres.
However Wellens had too much left in the tank and was able to overhaul him, then prevail ahead of Moscon. “Our team started up the battle. We were all strong and made sure it was a hard day in the saddle,” he said afterwards. “Valverde attacked uphill when Jasper De Buyst and Rémy Mertz were setting the pace. I responded to his attack and got in a front group of five. We were going really hard the first ten minutes and soon we had a few minutes advantage. It was clear that one of us would win the race.
“Moscon and I put pressure on Valverde during the descent of Puig Major. He lost contact and had to make an effort to join us again. Valverde, who had better legs uphill, tried to drop us on the last climb, but didn’t succeed in his attempt. In the descent Moscon and I created a gap again. A sprint between the two of us would determine the winner. We knew you had to be first to enter the last corner at 200 metres from the finish. It was a fair sprint, man against man.”