Welten Takes Victory on Opening Stage in Brittany25. April 2017, Merdrignac (FRA) — Development Team
Bram Welten made sure BMC Development Team got off to the perfect start at Tour de Bretagne as he took victory in the bunch sprint on stage 1.
After several breakaway attempts, two riders were able to go clear at the front of the race after 30km, of the 153.2km course. Their advantage continued to rise until it peaked at over 6'30", forcing a reaction from the bunch behind.
With two of four 8.4km local laps to go, the gap was still hovering at around two minutes. However, another injection of pace from the front of the peloton saw the riders reeled in before the final bell.
With a bunch sprint looking inevitable, BMC Development Team began to set up the final lead out for Welten before, with 500m to go, he launched his sprint and stormed towards the line to take the stage win and move into the leader's jersey.
Winner's Interview with Bram Welten
Congratulations, Bram. How are you feeling after today's win?
"I am really happy with today's race. It was a super, good day for us. The level is really high at this race with a lot of strong pro-continental teams, some of which have been racing at UCI World Tour races this year. To be able to be up there contesting the finish would have been a positive end to the stage so to win, it is incredible."
"The course was not too hard, and the wind was calm, so I was able to stay in front all day with the help of the guys. Leo Appelt did a great job pulling at the front to help bring the gap down and guys protected me and kept me in a good position all day. I am thankful for that."
Did you expect to win today?
"On the last two local laps, there was still two minutes between the two riders in front so, I thought they had a good chance at making it to the line. Then another team stepped up to help pull, and the gap was quickly closed. At that point, I knew that I had the legs to do it, I just needed to be in the right position and have come luck. Tanguy Turgis and Pierre Barbier did a great job, and I was in a perfect position when I launched my sprint."
And looking ahead to the rest of the week.
"At Tour de Normandie I didn't get the results I was looking for. I was close on a couple of stages so it was nice to know that I could do it here and this only adds to my confidence for the rest of the race. We rode really well as a team here, so we are motivated to keep racing for results."
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
“Today was finally a good day for us on the opening day of Le Tour de Bretagne. Everything worked out like planned. There was a breakaway with two riders so I told the guys to control the race a little bit with Leo Appelt so that the gap didn’t go out too far. Then, with 1km to go the race came back together and the guys did a really good job to keep Bram Welten in front. Pierre Barbier did the last lead out for Bram and like this, Bram could win the first stage. It was a very important win so, I’m really happy for the whole team. It’s definitely a good way to start the week."
Tour de Bretagne
Stage 1: Rennes > Merdrignac, 153.2km
Top 3: 1. Bram Welten (BMC Development Team) 2. Matteo Malucelli (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) 3. Jakub Mareczko (Willier Triestina-Selle Italia)
BMC Development Team Top 3: 1. Bram Welten 20. Pierre Barbier 38. Tanguy Turgus