Tim Wellens wins stage and takes GC lead in BinckBank Tour: There are still some difficult stages to come
Aug 16 2019 06:07 am CET

Tim Wellens wins stage and takes GC lead in BinckBank Tour: There are still some difficult stages to come
Tim Wellens wins stage and takes GC lead in BinckBank Tour: There are still some difficult stages to come
Tim Wellens (c)Lotto Soudal

Lotto Soudal's Tim Wellens took the victory of the fourth stage of the BinckBank Tour and climbed to the top of the General Classification.

After three stage wins of Sam Bennett, Wellens won his third stage victory in the race after the earlier ones in 2015 and 2017. The stage was 96 kilometres long and had an early escape of Stan Dewuldf and Iljo Keisse.

With 50 kilometres to go, there was a lot of activity in the pack that resulted with the creation of a group of around 40 riders that included names like Greg Van Avermaet, Laurens De Plus, Zdenek Stybar, Philippe Gilbert, Tim Wellens, Bob Jungels and Sam Bennett. At the second ascent of the Rue Bois des Moines, De Plus launched an attack that was responded by a handful of the others.

At the last kilometres, the Belgian rider of Jumbo-Visma tried his luck again and this time was followed only by Wellens, Marc Hirschi and Ivan Garcia Cortina. The Spaniard couldn't follow the pace of the others and was left behind while the other three contested the final sprint, which was won by Wellens while Hirsch and De Plus were second and third.

"Today, the second part of the BinckBank Tour kicked off with a stage that could possibly be decisive," said Wellens. "We tried to make it a hard race today. When I was riding alone at the front for a moment, I dropped back because I was wasting energy. A few moments later, I still felt strong enough to respond to the acceleration of De Plus and go to the line together with him and Hirschi. Due to the short distance, I was a little afraid that time differences would remain limited, but eventually, we worked together really well. I get on great with Laurens De Plus so we would make sure one of us could take the stage, but eventually, it was a sprint man to man.

"Before the stage, I rewatched the final kilometres a couple of times, which certainly helped me going into the final corner. I knew that I couldn't go full gas immediately, so I stayed on Hirschi's wheel. Eventually, I could beat him with an ultimate jump. I wasn't sure that I won but eventually, it was enough to take the stage win and the leader's jersey. Saturday's eight kilometres long time trial is something that should suit me but that is also the case for De Plus. I hope to still lead the race on Saturday night. We have a kind of 'Classics team' for Sunday's stage in Geraardsbergen and they should be able to assist me as good as possible. Of course, I want to keep this jersey but there are still some difficult stages to come."



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