Grand Prix de Wallonie: Teuns and Vliegen Finish in Top Ten13. September 2017, Citadelle de Namur (BEL) — Road Team
Dylan Teuns and Loïc Vliegen returned to racing on home soil with strong performances at Grand Prix de Wallonie that saw the BMC Racing Team duo finish in sixth and tenth place respectively.
After 20km and a fast start to the 212km race, seven rider broke clear and quickly established more than two minutes’ advantage on the peloton where BMC Racing Team’s seven riders remained.
After allowing the breakaway to go more than four minutes’ clear, the peloton started to chase and brought the gap down to three minutes after 100km.
An injection of speed at the front of the peloton saw the chase heat up and eventually, the breakaway was brought back with 52km to go, which saw the race hit the reset button.
Splits in the peloton formed and soon a 21-rider group established, featuring Teuns and Vliegen, that managed to build a 30-second advantage over the chasers.
Attacks in the leading group caused a split and allowed Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) to go clear, while behind Teuns and Vliegen were part of the chase group.
Teuns and Vliegen succeeded in bridging to the front group to form an 8-rider group inside the last 20km, from which it looked likely the winner would come.
Wellens attacked again with 15km remaining and while Teuns was able to react, Vliegen suffered a mechanical problem and was left behind.
Despite a strong chase group behind, featuring Teuns, and a steep final climb to the finish, Wellens held on to take the solo win and Teuns crossed the line in sixth place from the chase group. Despite losing ground due to the mechanical issue, Vliegen managed to hold on and round out the top ten.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I’m tired and disappointed. I was isolated in the end when Loïc had a problem with the bike. It was the worst moment for something to happen. I was pretty well-recovered after the Canadian races and I was feeling strong. It was a big effort today to get in the good echelon. I felt pretty strong, pretty good, and confident with my form. Lotto Soudal had four or five guys and we were with three guys before the first climb. There was already a lot of pressure with the attacks but we were covering them well. The group became smaller and we lost Patrick Müller and Lotto Soudal was still there with three riders. If Loïc didn’t have a problem, it would have been a totally different race. With each race I’m feeling better and better so it’s a good sign before the World Championships.”
“We were there in front and when Wellens attacked, I had a problem trying to change gears and had to change my bike. There were two groups behind me and Valerio was trying to get to me but he was blocked. Finally, I came for sixth place and I got tenth. I’m really disappointed because I had good legs and I was in the good move, and it was better with two of us up there. I was feeling really strong. I was thinking that the bunch wasn’t riding because I felt so good. I could feel that in the last hour I was a bit tired, but when I recover 100% from the Vuelta a España I will be really good.”
Valerio Piva, Sports Director:
“The team was strong. We planned to attack where the wind was strong and everybody was ready. We started with seven riders but three guys from us weren’t able to make the first echelon. We planned to have Dylan Teuns and Loïc Vliegen at the finish. Unfortunately, at a bad moment Loïc had a mechanical problem and needed to change bikes. The race car was behind two groups and couldn’t pass so he was dropped. Dylan stayed with the front group but with three Lotto Soudal riders it was not easy to manage the situation. He was strong and Loïc also but it’s difficult to compete against three riders from the same team when you are alone. When Wellens attacked, it was clear he was the strongest. We tried and we had our two best guys in the good move, but we had some bad luck.”
Grand Prix de Wallonie
Chaudfontaine > Citadelle de Namur (212km)
Top 3: 1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), 2. Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal), 3. Julien Simon (Cofidis).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 6. Dylan Teuns, 10. Loïc Vliegen