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Duo escape with Matthias Frank on late climbs and as pre-race favourite Gilbert has no too few domestiques to bring it back, they battle it on the climb to the finish with Bakelants emerging as the strongest

Photo: Sirotti

GP DE WALLONIE

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS

JAN BAKELANTS

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

MATHIAS FRANK

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

THOMAS VOECKLER

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS
18.09.2013 @ 17:36 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jan Bakelants - representing the Belgian national team - proved that he is fully ready to play a crucial role in the world championships when he beat fellow worlds contenders Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in a thrilling finale of the GP de Wallonie. Having escaped with Mathias Frank (BMC), the duo stayed away and - after leaving Frank behind - had to decide the race on the final climb to the citadel in Namur with Bakelants emerging as the strongest.

 

On Monday, Jan Bakelants was selected as a crucial support rider for Philippe Gilbert in the world road race championships. Today his captain got the chance to see close up how strong his fellow Belgian is at the moment when the Radioshack rider beat the world champion in the GP de Wallonie.

 

With his Radioshack team having reduced their racing schedule to WorldTour events, Bakelants was representing the national team in what was an important warm-up event for the worlds. With 18km to go, he escaped with Mathias Frank on a climb in the hilly finale and a little later Thomas Voeckler bridged across.

 

Frank was only there to protect the interests of Gilbert and so didn't contribute to the work but as there was no organized chase going on in the small peloton that was left after a hard race, Bakelants and Voeckler were strong enough to keep their rivals at bay. When they hit the final 2,8km to the finish, it was clear that the winner would be one of the three escapees.

 

Frank wasn't at his best and quickly fell off the pace when Voeckler launched a late attack. However, Bakelants responded immediately and those two riders were set to decide the stage in a sprint finish.

 

In a thrilling, technical and unpredictable finale, Bakelants got the upper hand when he entered the final corner in first position and Voeckler had no time to recover the lost ground. Bakelants raised his arms in celebration while Frank managed to hold off an approaching Florian Vachon (Bretagne) to take the final spot on the podium.

 

More to come

 

Result:

1. Jan Bakelants 4.54.47

2. Thomas Voeckler

3. Mathias Frank +0.08

4. Florian Vachon +0.14

5. Michael Kwiatkowski +0.18

6. Tom Dumoulin

7. Zico Waeytens

8. Sylvain Chavanel +0.29

9. Julien Simon +0.31

10. Philippe Gilbert

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