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"I think we had a good chance when we went away with four riders. I think we could have made the race a bit harder for a guy like Van Avermaet in the breakaway, but the other guys didn't really try to put him under pressure."&...

Photo: A.S.O.






17.09.2014 @ 19:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jan Bakelants seemed to be the strongest rider in the GP de Wallonie but the defending champion had to settle for third. The Belgian regretted that the breakaway had not made the race harder for eventual winner Greg Van Avermaet.


OPQS rider Jan Bakelants tried to drop his three breakaway companions several times on the final climb, Citadelle de Namur, at 198.2km GP de Wallonie on Wednesday. The group was holding off a select group down to about 20 riders, holding a 22" gap.


The breakaway stayed together, however, and with the riders starting to look at each other the select group started to come back. That is when Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol) accelerated out of the escape group. Only Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) and Bakelants were able to stay with the move.


Going into the final kilometer Bakelants tried to launch from far out, with riders bridging across to the leaders from the select group behind. But Van Avermaet was able to overtake the Belgian rider to go on for the race victory. Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) was 2nd, and Bakelants 3rd).


Earlier in the race Gianluca Brambilla went on the attack with F. Schleck (Trek Factory Racing). That is when other riders bridged and Bakelants was able to go away with the breakaway riders that ultimately decided the stage.


OPQS worked hard to bring back the original breakaway with a long way to go in the race, and the team stayed aggressive until the finish line.

"Today I wanted to try to win because I was the defending champion," Bakelants said. "But, it is what it is. I think we had a good chance when we went away with four riders. I think we could have made the race a bit harder for a guy like Van Avermaet in the breakaway, but the other guys didn't really try to put him under pressure.


"So, we went together onto the Citadelle. I know this climb well. I played my cards, but knew it would not be easy to beat Van Avermaet if it came down to a sprint as he is faster than me. I tried to attack more than once, but he was strong. Considering myself, I'm in good condition for worlds. I showed I am ready today. I am at the same level as last year, except I didn't win." 



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