Greg Van Avermaet scoops Tour de Wallonie overall with final stage win
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Greg Van Avermaet scoops Tour de Wallonie overall with final stage win

by Kyle Moore at 11:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
BMC rider gets Mur de Thuin victory as Kolobnev has bike trouble

Greg Van AvermaetGreg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) took his second Tour de Wallonie overall victory in the last three years, after winning in 2011, with a final stage attack and triumph at the top of the Mur de Thuin. Van Avermaet stole the overall win from Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha), who was well protected going into the finale but dropped back on the final short, steep climb.

Van Avermaet drove hard to the line, picking up ten bonus seconds for the win and hoping he could distance Kolobnev by about ten more seconds in order to jump him in the general classification. Kolobnev crossed the line a full 20 seconds after the Belgian, dropping his head in disgust having lost out on a prime opportunity to win his first ever stage race.

Kolobnev drifted to the side of the road in the finish area and examined his crank and chain, which was obviously broken in some way. Then the Russian threw his bike into the grass in disgust, obviously stung by losing out at the overall victory.

The finale of the Tour de Wallonie was a 144km stage from Soignies to Thuin, with the Mur de Thuin put down as the feature in the end. A little over a kilometre in length and averaging 9%, the climb was tackled twice – first with 12km to go, and again just before the finish line after riders had completed a circuit around town.

Three men went out to play in the daylong breakaway, in Jack Bobridge (Belkin), Sébastian Delfosse (Crelan-Euphony), and Boris Vallee (Color Code-Biowanze). They built a gap of over six minutes, and were still away with 30km to go, but it was a manageable gap throughout the day.

The trio began attacking each other with 30km to race. Having just finished an acceleration of his own, Vallee was then dropped on a shallow incline with 23km to race, and Delfosse and Bobridge went off alone with a 45 second gap. But the Color Code-Biowanze rider pulled himself back slowly but surely, and with 19km to go, they were a trio again, with a gap of 29 seconds.

But Katusha got underway on the front of the bunch, pulling for Kolobnev, and two kilometres later, all were together again after one final push by Vallee failed. It was a sharp left hand turn that led onto the Mur de Thuin, with a cobblestoned road for good measure, and it was Yoann Offredo (FDJ.fr) who led up the climb, looking to soften the field for Anthony Geslin (FDJ.fr), who was sitting second overall. But Offredo just made a quick tempo, and everyone saved their attacks for the true finale.

With just a 12km circuit around Thuin left to race, Omega Pharma-Quick Step and BMC Racing were doing most of the pulling. Offredo came forward again and stamped on the accelerator, and the kilometres were ticking down quickly, although Katusha never lost control.

With 7.5km to go, Taylor Phinney put in a dig, but it was covered by Lotto-Belisol and others, and the field was stretched thin under the pressure. Daniel Oss took over as BMC continued to throw punches, saving Van Avermaet for the finish. The curly haired Italian pulled out a brief advantage before being closed down, inspiring Julien Bérard (AG2R La Mondiale) and Laurent Evrard (Wallonie-Bruxelles) to go.

This duo spent a kilometre off the front before Katusha reeled them in as well, getting a long pull from Mikhail Ignatiev. With under 2km left, Phinney and Oss were back at it, leading out Van Avermaet, who hit the Mur de Thuin first. The Belgian, also a winner on stage three, attacked from the bottom and immediately shot up the road. Over the top of the climb, with under a kilometre left, Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) was trying to bridge to Van Avermaet.

Marcato had Oss and Olivier Chevalier (Wallinie-Bruxelles) with him, but that’s how they hit the line. Van Avermaet celebrated another victory, and Oss came around Marcato to make it a BMC one-two. The frustrated Kolobnev crossed 20 seconds later, too late to take the final yellow jersey.

Tour de Wallonie Stage 5 Brief Results:

1, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing)
2, Daniel Oss (BMC Racing)
3, Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM)
4, Olivier Chevalier (Wallonie-Bruxelles)
5, Jempy Drucker (Accent Jobs-Wanty)
6, Paul Martens (Belkin)
7, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol)
8, Laurent Evrard (Wallonie-Bruxelles)
9, Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
10, Maxime Vantomme (Crelan-Euphony)

Final General Classification:

1, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing)
2, Anthony Geslin (FDJ.fr) at 10"
3, Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) at 12"
4, Daniel Oss (BMC Racing) at 20"
5, Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM)
6, Jempy Drucker (Accent Jobs-Wanty) at 26"
7, Olivier Chevalier (Wallonie-Bruxelles)
8, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol)
9, Paul Martens (Belkin) at 30"
10, Laurent Evrard (Wallonie-Bruxelles)

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