Jelle Wallays and sports director Willems about the 4 Jours de Dunkerque


The 4 Jours de Dunkerque is a French stage race in the region of Hauts-de-France. This Europe Tour race will take place from Tuesday 14 May until Sunday 19 May. The course of the 65th edition consists of six hilly stages. Last year, André Greipel took two stage victories for Lotto Soudal. Jelle Wallays and sports director Frederik Willems look ahead to this race.

Frederik Willems, sports director at Lotto Soudal: “This stage race comes right after the spring season. The course certainly is not easy, especially the stage to Cassel, but also the other days include some hills along the way. As we’re racing close to the French coast, the weather conditions are often pretty unpredictable. At the moment, the weather predictions do not look very nice. Perhaps, these are small factors, but all together they make a great difference. During the first stages, I expect some bunch sprints, however a lot is depending on the previously stated factors.”

“Jens Keukeleire will be one of the protected riders in our team, but we need to await his feeling in the race itself. Jelle Wallays surely is very important to us and therefore we have missed him in the Flemish Classics. Dunkerque will only be his first race after his crash in Argentina, but he was able to train enough to reach the right shape. He can test himself by going on the offensive. Stan Dewulf is someone who perfectly sees how the race will unfold. He will get a free role in some stages, for example the one to Cassel. In other ones, he could go along with an interesting breakaway and that way protecting the rest of the team.”

Jelle Wallays: “During the long rehabilitation, I really got to know my own body better, because each time during and after the training, I needed to wait how it would react. In the run-up towards the Omloop Het Nieuwblad, I felt it would not be possible to ride the spring Classics. I certainly did not want to force anything, so I immediately shifted focus to later goals. Just before the Tour de Romandie I got sick, a serious setback… Unfortunately, my comeback was postponed by two weeks, but things like that happen. Now everything is going according to plan again and I am really looking forward to riding in Dunkerque. ”

“My role within the team still needs to be discussed. I expect that I will mainly help the team, since I have just restarted competition. On training I occasionally pass through Cassel and in the past I already rode the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, with a similar stage to that climb. Riding in bad weather conditions is no problem for me. Then there is more action, so I actually like that. ”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Stan Dewulf, Frederik Frison, Jens Keukeleire, Rémy Mertz, Brian van Goethem, Jelle Wallays and Enzo Wouters.

Sports directors: Frederik Willems and Herman Frison.


Stage 1 Tuesday 14 May: Dunkerque – Condé-sur-l’Escaut (172.9 km)
Stage 2 Wednesday 15 May: Wallers – Saint-Quentin (177.7 km)
Stage 3 Thursday 16 May: Laon – Compiègne (156.5 km)
Stage 4 Friday 17 May: Fort-Mahon-Plage – Le Portel (179.8 km)
Stage 5 Saturday 18 May: Gravelines – Cassel (181.5 km)
Stage 6 Sunday 19 May: Roubaix – Dunkerque (187.3 km)

During the long rehabilitation, I really got to know my own body better.