Van Avermaet wins Tour de Wallonie stage three drag race
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Monday, July 22, 2013

Van Avermaet wins Tour de Wallonie stage three drag race

by Kyle Moore at 11:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Kolobnev maintains overall lead as BMC Belgian gets first season victory

Greg Van AvermaetGreg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) got himself and his team in the winning column on Monday in Belgium, unleashing an old fashioned sprint in stage three of the Tour de Wallonie. The Belgian was just a meter quicker than Tom Van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) on the 168km stage from Beaufays to Bastogne. Jempy Drucker (Acccent Jobs-Wanty) was third.

The victory for BMC adds a bright spot to a difficult period for the team, which vastly underperformed at the Tour de France. The team already announced today that its primary director sportif, John Lelangue, is leaving the squad immediately.

Asked about his director’s departure after the stage, Van Avermaet preferred to keep his focus on BMC’s tasks in Belgium, saying that it was a team management matter.

Van Avermaet, the 2011 Wallonie champion, was led out to the finish by team-mate Daniel Oss, who took fourth place for himself on stage three. The BMC duo are firing well but missed out on stage one, when Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) won out of a five-man breakaway group that survived to the finish, 24 seconds ahead of the main bunch.

To make sure this didn’t happen again, at least not without one of their own in the move, BMC were ultra-aggressive in the finale of stage three.

Earlier in the day, Stijn Steels (Crelan-Euphony), Christophe Premont (Crelan-Euphony), and Kevin Van Melsen (Accent Jobs-Wanty) formed the early break, but the trio was pulled back rather quickly, which inspired other moves. With more than 40km to go and the bunch closing in, Premont tried on his own, but was hauled in by mountains classification leader Tiago Machado (Radioshack-Leopard). Moves from Juan Manuel Garate (Belkin) and Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil-DCM) were also eventually neutralized, before the powerful trio of Van Avermaet, Oss, and Stijn Devolder (Radioshack-Leopard) went up the road.

The road was undulating and the pace was high, as individual attacks shot off the front but didn’t get away, including one from Santos Tour Down Under champion Tom Jelte Slagter (Belkin).

With under 20km to race, BMC continued its aggression, sending Yannick Eijssen on the move, soon joined by Pieter Serry (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). The high pace of the last 20 kilometres had forced a small group clear of a shattered peloton behind. In the group, overall leader Kolobnev had only Giampaolo Caruso to support him, but the Italian did yeoman’s work to keep every threat contained.

Eijssen and Serry pulled out to a maximum lead of 38 seconds, making Serry the virtual leader on the road by just a few ticks, but with ten kilometres to race, the bunch increased the tempo. Two kilometres later, the duo’s advantage was down to 21 seconds, and while it hovered about 18 seconds for a while, they were caught with 5km to race. Omega Pharma-Quick Step dispatched a number of riders to try to pry control from Kolobnev, but the Russian shut down several of the moves himself. A third Omega Pharma-Quick Step attacker was birthday boy Dries Devenyns, and he achieved a gap that he took all the way under the 1km banner.

But Belkin were on a charge, with Slagter pulling a lead out for team-mate Paul Martens. With the line approaching, the ever-enthusiastic Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) went long with his sprint, but it was too long for his energies. Oss led out Van Avermaet, who took the right side of the road, in a proper drag race with Van Asproeck.

Drucker came up on the left but was overmatched by the other two, and Van Avermaet got the victory by a wheel length.

Tour de Wallonie Stage 3 Brief Results:

1, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing)
2, Tom Van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
3, Jempy Drucker (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
4, Daniel Oss (BMC Racing)
5, Paul Martens (Belkin)
6, Maxime Vantomme (Crelan-Euphony)
7, Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM)
8, Anthony Roux (FDJ.fr)
9, Nico Sijmens (Cofidis)
10, Michel Kreder (Garmin-Sharp)

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