VOO Tour de Wallonie: Teuns Sprints to Third on Opening Day22. July 2017, Marchin (BEL) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team got off to a strong start at the VOO Tour de Wallonie with Loïc Vliegen on the attack before Dylan Teuns sprinted to third on the line in Marchin.
The pace was fast from the moment the flag dropped on stage 1 with a flurry of early attacks being pulled back by the peloton over the opening kilometers of the day.
Eventually, 30km into the 189.9km course, a group of six riders went clear, and with the peloton sitting up, their advantage quickly rose to 6’30” before stabilizing at around six minutes going over the top of the Côte de Werbomont.
BMC Racing Team soon moved up to the front of the peloton and began to help set a fierce pace which saw the gap to the breakaway brought to within 4’30” as the race hit the 100km to go mark.
The leaders’ advantage continued to fall, and with less than 1’30” separating them from the rest of the field with 60km to go, it was clear that there was a lot more action to come.
Inside the final 50km, the breakaway was sitting less than one minute ahead as Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) launched himself off the front of the race before being swept up by the peloton less than 15km later.
New attacks began almost immediately, and as the road rose towards the summit of the Côte de Ben-Ahin, 24km from the finish line, a burst of acceleration from Teuns saw the peloton split into several pieces.
Vliegen was then part of a six-rider group that attacked off the front of the peloton and build up a narrow advantage, but once again they were pulled back by the main bunch, which was now made up of only 40 riders.
There was no pause in the action and riders, including Vliegen, continued to try their luck but in the end, the bunch went over the finish line to the start the final 10km around Marchin, which included a second ascent of the Côte d’Ereffe, together.
With just 4km remaining, Benjamin Thomas (Armeé de Terre) made his ultimately winning move, attacking off the front of the race before taking victory on the opening day of racing in Belgium.
The racing continued behind the solo leader with the reduced bunch heading towards an uphill battle on the kick up towards the line.
Teuns was looking strong and launched an impressive sprint in the closing meters of the race before being passed just on the line and pushed into third place, just a handful of seconds behind the new race leader.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I wanted to really go for the stage win today, but in the end, there was one rider who went clear and could stay out in front of the reduced bunch. We then had to sprint for second, and I was just caught on the line and had to settle for third. I am bit disappointed because I knew the finish well from Flèche Wallone and it was a good one for me. There are still some chances to come, and I am in a good position looking at the General Classification which is also important.”
Sports Director, Allan Peiper:
“It was a good race for us today. We rode intelligently, and once the breakaway finally formed, which took a long time, we got some other teams to ride with us, and we didn’t have to do too much work chasing the front group. Coming into the final climbs, we were always present and always at the front. Going onto the final circuit, we saw Loïc Vliegen out in front, but they were pulled back before the rider from Armeé de Terre went clear. Dylan Teuns attacked the sprint and was just passed by one other rider. All in all, it was a good day, we came into the race thinking about the General Classification for Dylan and Loïc so, I think we are in a good position for tomorrow. It’s going to be another hard stage tomorrow, but we won’t have to control the race and while we would have loved to have won the stage we are in a good place overall.”
VOO Tour de Wallonie
Stage 1: Stavelot > Marchin, 189.9km
Top 3: Benjamin Thomas (Armeé de Terre) 2. Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) 3. Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 3. Dylan Teuns 19. Floris Gerts 20. Loïc Vliegen