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"The climb to the citadel is a few minutes effort, and is relatively short, which is not really what I like; I prefer climbs that are a little longer.  A finish like this is down to brute strength, and that is probably the reason...

Photo: IAM Cycling




27.07.2015 @ 20:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

A victory for Philippe Gilbert (BMC) was almost too easy to predict, especially since he dominated the climb to the summit of the Namur citadel.  Raising his arms in victory at home after the 217 kilometers of racing, the former world champion interestingly also grabbed his first victory at the Tour of Wallonia. 


IAM Cycling could feel comfortable with their day’s work particularly because Dries Devenyns distinguished himself with an attempted escape in the final kilometers of the race while Thomas Degand stayed with the favorites until the finish.


Exhausted after nearly six hours on the bike, the Belgian climber Thomas Degand was happy to share his feelings.  On the whole, it was a satisfactory day, but still punctuated with a slight disappointment.  


“It was a difficult stage with the weather again making things very complicated. The rain, wind and relatively cool temperatures were problematic,” Degand explained.  “On top of that, you can add a very long day in the saddle.  Personally I am a little disappointed because I did not have great legs in the final, probably because of the weather.  But I gave it my all, and I hope that I can be better tomorrow. 


"The climb to the citadel is a few minutes effort, and is relatively short, which is not really what I like; I prefer climbs that are a little longer.  A finish like this is down to brute strength, and that is probably the reason I didn’t finish with a little better result.”


Indeed, the Swiss team has been circling around strong results in each of the past three stages.  Never far from victory, and always well placed, the IAM Cycling team can confidently expect that they will be in a position to bring home a bouquet on Wednesday. In any case, this is what Thierry Marichal, directeur sportif at the Tour de Wallonie alongside Kjell Carlström, is hoping. 


“Thomas Degand finished in 20th place on Monday,” Marichal explained.  “That’s pretty good, but he can do better than that here.  There are several Pro Conti teams at the race, so I think that a victory, or being more upfront in the rankings, is well within our capabilities.  We can wait a little longer.  After all, we can’t ignore the fact that luck plays a large role as well; good luck is oh-so important for a victory, for example. That’s beyond our control, so there isn’t much we can do about it.”



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