Jan Bakelants outsprints Thomas Voeckler to take the GP de Wallonie
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jan Bakelants outsprints Thomas Voeckler to take the GP de Wallonie

by Ben Atkins at 3:34 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Morale-boosting pre-Worlds victory for Tour de France stage winner

jan bakelantsJan Bakelants, riding as part of the Belgian National Team, won a rain-soaked edition of the GP de Wallonie as he outmanoeuvred and outsprinted Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) on the Citadel of Namur. The Belgian Tour de France stage winner and Maillot Jaune, managed to beat the similarly experienced Frenchman into the final corner of a technical final kilometre and managed to hold him off all the way to the line to take a morale-boosting victory ahead of the World championships.

Mathias Frank (BMC Racing), who had been with Bakelants and Voeckler as part of a late-breakaway trio, finished in third place, eight seconds back, just holding off a late charge from Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séché) on the climb to the top of the citadel.

“I knew that I would be good here,” said Bakelants at the finish. “Two weeks after my altitude training camp in Italy I expected to perform well in this region. Moreover in my U23 years I won a lot of races  here. Now already I can tell you that Liège-Bastogne-Liège will be one of my goals next year. But first Firenze. I will attack there too, I hope. Philippe Gilbert will be the team leader and I will work for him with pleasure but I also hope to get some freedom myself.”

The race saw an early ten-man move, consisting of Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Roy Curvers (Argos-Shimano), Lawrence Warbasse (BMC Racing), Olivier Le Gac (FDJ.fr), Chris Juul-Jensen (Saxo-Tinkoff), Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM), Frans Claes (Crelan-Euphony), Arnaud Gerard (Bretagne-Séché), Romain Hardy (Cofidis) and Vincent Jerome (Europcar). The group was able to get more than three and a half minutes clear, but it was eventually reeled in with almost 40km still to race.

There was a brief move from Olivier Pardini (Verandas Willems), but the winning move came on the Côte de Lustin, with 24km to go, when Bakelants attacked. The Belgian rider was followed by Frank, and Voeckler managed to bridge across to the duo soon afterwards.

With the leading trio almost 30 seconds ahead, Edward Theuns (Belgium) and Manuele Boaro (Saxo-Tinkoff) tried to bridge. The two riders were pulled back, only for Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) to try himself. The Polish champion was joined by Zico Waeytens (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Vachon, and the three of them began to edge closer to the three in front.

On the final climb to the citadel, an acceleration from Voeckler saw Frank dropped. The two remaining leaders then fought around the final technical section of the course, with Bakelants coming out of the final corner first and taking victory.

“If I wanted to win, I had to improvise,” explained Bakelants. “I knew that guys like Philippe Gilbert or Greg Van Avermaet [both BMC Racing Team - ed] would be hard to beat in the sprint. That’s why I attacked earlier. Because of the bad weather I knew that the peloton would not go faster than the break in that rain.

“With a gap of 45 seconds at six-k from the end I knew I could win,” he added. “I had no problems to counter the attack of Voeckler on the uphill climb of three kilometres. I felt good in the rain and saw that Voeckler did not dare to take risks in the corners.

“In the last corner, I definitely took more risks than the Frenchman. It gave me the victory.”

Result GP de Wallonie
1. Jan Bakelandts (Bel) Belgian National Team
2. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
3. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team @ 8s
4. Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché @ @ 14s
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 18s
6. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano
7. Zico Waeytens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 29s
9. Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun @ 31s
10. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team

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