Tim Wellens wins and leads in Etoile de Bèsseges: It was just a time trial to the finish
Feb 06 2021 02:27 am CET

Tim Wellens wins and leads in Etoile de Bèsseges: It was just a time trial to the finish
Tim Wellens wins and leads in Etoile de Bèsseges: It was just a time trial to the finish
Image: Lotto Soudal logo

Lotto Soudal's Tim Wellens has taken the victory of the third stage of Étoile de Bèsseges and has taken the lead of the General Classification.

The Belgian rider was part of the breakaway of the day along with his teammates Philippe Gilbert and Stefano Oldani and that included other strong riders like Greg Van Avermaet and Edward Theuns. The group maintained a good gap with the pack and with 15 kilometres to go, Wellens attacked and got a good advantage over his fellow escapees that eventually gave him the day's victory and allowed him to climb to the top of the GC standings.

"Before the stage, I had already decided to go into the breakaway," said the rider. "We had a look at the course in the bus beforehand and noticed that the beginning of the stage was marked by hilly terrain, including several technical and wet descents. So, quite a tough stage. The level in this peloton is really high. A lot of riders would be interested in being part of the breakaway. So, I was really attentive to absolutely be up there. However, it took a long time before the right breakaway formed. A lot of good riders were in it, so it was immediately clear that we were going to battle it out for the win."

"I saw my chance in the descent. I took some advantage and teammate Oldani played it perfectly. Then, it was just a time trial to the finish. I also did the descent on the limit, I saw some oil on the road and the motorbike in front of me had a hard time keeping his line. Luckily, I was able to stay upright and I could further increase my lead."

The fourth stage of the French race will also feature a rolling route and Wellens expects to maintain the 44-second advantage he has over Theuns, the 46-second gap with Mads Würtz Schmidt and the 48-second he has with Michal Kwiatkowski.

"I now have a 48-second lead on Kwiatkowski in the general classification. Tomorrow, it will be difficult to further extend my advantage. But I will be happy if I can hold that lead going into Sunday's time trial. If I feel good, I know it will be difficult to give away the overall victory.

"But you never know of course. Everyone can have a bad day, but we already did a recon of the time trial and the course suits me. First, it's eight kilometres flat, followed by a short climb, which should be something for me. Hopefully, there won't be too much chaos tomorrow and we can control things."
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TIM WELLENS
LOTTO SOUDAL





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