Benoot and Wellens, leaders for Il Lombardia
Preview of Milan-Turin, GranPiemonte and Il Lombardia
After a fifth and second place in the past two Trofeos, Tim Wellens now took his first victory of the season today. For the third consecutive year, Wellens won the Trofeo de Tramuntana. The Lotto Soudal rider finished solo in Deiá, ahead of Emanuel Buchmann and world champion Alejandro Valverde.
From the start, Lotto Soudal wanted to light up the race and make it a long and tough day in the saddle. Still early in the race, the bunch was split to pieces but eventually - for a moment at least - calm restored in the peloton. Three riders managed to take some advantage, with the peloton chasing behind. During the finale, Emanuel Buchmann - just like yesterday - reached out his hand to a solo victory but Hermans, Higuita and Lotto Soudal rider Tim Wellens did not let that happen again. They set up a chase and somewhat later, Wellens joined Buchmann at the font of the race. Around five kilometres from the line, Wellens attacked, distanced Buchmann and rode solo to his third consecutive victory in Deiá.
Tim Wellens: “Immediately after the start, the roads started to rise. We decided to take the initiative ourselves in order to make it a tough day. There were quite a few crucial moments today, but the team always neutralised the danger as they rode at the front of the bunch and as such taking matters into our own hands. At a certain point on the course, we decided to go full gas with the whole team, which caused the peloton to split to pieces. However, it was still reasonably long till the ultimate climb so we decided to wait for a moment and let everybody return.”
“I attacked on the last climb of the day, looking for head of the race Buchmann. Initially, I chased Buchmann together with two other riders but as I took some risks in the wet descent, only one rider was able to follow. I knew the course all too well and that really did help me a lot today. Later, I could join Buchmann at the front and at around five kilometres to go, I left him behind during a technical descent. He told me that he was cramping up so I took full advantage of that.”
“My next race will be my first participation in Etoile de Besseges, where I want to pursue a good overall classification. The final time trial will be crucial. Besseges is mostly a nervous race due to the increased chance of echelons, so we really have to pay attention there.”