WorldTeam Disappointed Tim Wellens second overall at Baloise Belgium Tour
Lotto Soudal rider Tim Wellens has finished the Baloise Belgium Tour in second place on the general classification. Following yesterday’s Ardennes stage in Durbuy, both Wellens and leader Schmid started the final day of racing between Gingelom and Beringen in the same time, making the Golden Kilometre a decisive moment in the battle for the overall victory. Placed between kilometre six and five before the finish, it would be a real thriller for the bonification seconds and the GC win.
Lotto Soudal worked tirelessly at the head of the bunch to make sure a complete peloton would start the Golden Kilometre and so it also happened. After an intense kilometre with three bonification sprints, both Wellens and Schmid each took four seconds, which caused no differences on the final classification. It was Fabio Jakobsen who won the closing stage, Tim Wellens had to settle for 2nd overall, Victor Campenaerts finished 5th. That way, Lotto Soudal ends the Baloise Belgium Tour with two riders in the overall top five.
Wellens looks back on a nerve-racking and chaotic closing stage at the Baloise Belgium Tour.
“Of course I am disappointed to be so close to winning the Baloise Belgium Tour”, says Tim Wellens. “As a team, we would fully go for the overall victory and we did everything we could to enter the Golden Kilometre in a perfect position, which we also did. Arnaud De Lie launched me perfectly towards the first sprint, where I took three seconds. The goal was to go full for the first sprint and then focus on the wheel of Schmid. It looked very good after the first sprint but it went wrong towards the second sprint. That move of Lampaert did cost me the overall victory but his disqualification does not change anything of course.”
“You might also say that I lost the Belgium Tour in the time trial or the Ardennes stage… In any case, it was a really exciting battle and really entertaining to watch for the fans. Losing with such a small gap is never nice but as a team we can be proud of how we raced during the Belgium Tour and this gives confidence for what’s to come”, concludes Tim Wellens.
Teammate Arnaud De Lie sacrificed his own sprint chances to try to get Tim Wellens on the top step of the podium.
Arnaud De Lie: “It was just logical that I would help Tim today because there was a good chance we could still win the overall classification and eventually we came very close. I launched Tim towards the first sprint, where he immediately took three seconds. The legs exploded a bit after that effort so I didn’t really see what happened afterwards. I still tried to be in the mix for the final sprint but I was a bit boxed in after the team had worked all day long.”
Image: Photo News.