Eneco Tour, Stage 6: Van Avermaet Runner-Up15. August 2015, Houffalize (BEL) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet was runner-up to solo winner Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) Saturday to move into second overall at the Eneco Tour while teammate Philippe Gilbert finished sixth and is fourth with a day of the race to go.
Several times in the last 65 kilometers of the rain-soaked 208.6 km race, Van Avermaet was on the attack. But when Wellens put in his own move with 23 km to go, Van Avermaet said he was not in a position to respond.
"It was a bit strange because it was on the descent and because it was wet, I lost his wheel a bit," Van Avermaet said. "I was seventh or eighth wheel and then we went immediately into a climb. Wellens attacked directly, so I did not see him go. So first I had to find my pace on the climb and then try to chase him back."
Wellens and Van Avermaet engaged in an individual pursuit of sorts for the next 15 kilometers until Van Avermaet was joined by Simon Geschke (Team Giant-Alpecin), who would go on to finish third. The two arrived 49 and 51 seconds, respectively, after Wellens, who took the overall lead. Gilbert finished in a small group about 25 seconds later.
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Valerio Piva said Wellens was "unbeatable" as he took a 63-second lead over Van Avermaet heading into the final day. Wilco Kelderman (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) is third overall, at 1:17, while Gilbert is another 23 seconds back in fourth.
"Wellens was the strongest today," Piva said. "We did everything. We attacked with Greg and he was amazingly strong. But Wellens was not going to be caught."
Van Avermaet said he is looking forward to Sunday's final – which finishes in Geraardsbergen – where he won a stage of the race last year.
"It suits me pretty well because it is a Flanders-type course with an uphill finish," he said. "It will be hard to catch Wellens back because he has more than one minute. But I will go for the stage victory and try to stay second on the GC (general classification)."
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