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"The priority now will be to go for stage wins. The stage profiles are interesting, but the race, in my opinion, will favour the puncheurs. Realistically, it may be difficult for us, but we will do everything we can to be aggressive an...

Photo: IAM Cycling






25.07.2015 @ 20:59 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Belgian weather is extreme, and not only by reputation. Though we have reached the end of July, the riders at the Tour de Wallonie have been forced to race the first stage in extreme conditions mixing heavy rain, gusty winds, and cold temperatures into a spicy cocktail. 


And under these trying conditions, it is not surprising that a rider from the north emerged victorious on the day. Niki Terpstra (Etixx - Quick Step) earned himself a solo win in the streets of Hannut after escaping in the first kilometers. Having gotten away with the day’s winner as well as thirteen other riders, IAM Cycling’s Dries Devenyns and Simon Pellaud were off the front of the peloton until being sucked up by the pack on the second to last climb.


Having to repeatedly tackle the same climbs deep-sixed the IAM Cycling duos chances of staying away until the finish. After taking a shower and climbing into warm, dry clothing, Simon Pellaud was happy to talk about this first stage of the Belgian race. 


“The day promised to be very complicated with the weather conditions,” the young Swiss rider explained. “The weather for us was pretty terrible, and provided a sort of thermal shock. It was more than 20 Celsius cooler here than I have been used to in the Valais region of Switzerland in the recent days.


"I thought it would be good to be at the front. We came out on top of the first climb and Dries Devenyns was with me and a group of real hard men. Any hope of recovery was pretty impossible for me, but I tried my best with the rain and cold.


"Dries looked fairly comfortable on the climbs, but for my part, I started to feel pretty tired. So I told myself I would sacrifice myself for him. Unfortunately, going with the leading group on at the top of the penultimate climb cost me a lot of energy.


"Being objective about my form, I think I am missing some days of racing in order to be at my best. Here in the break, we were never disconnected; we rolled fast and it was a little too fast for me.


"Making sure that I can recover after a stage like this is obviously very important, so I made sure to eat something already on the bus. I think a massage and a good night’s sleep will also be necessary to recharge the batteries.”


Thierry Marichal, directeur sportif for the Swiss team at the Belgian race, reviewed the performance of his riders and included some relevant analysis:


“Once our two riders were caught back, we were not in an amazing situation as far as the race goes. Even though there were a lot of teams that did not have riders in the break, they did not make the effort to control the time the break gained, and as a result, the peloton arrived 1’05” behind the winner of the stage. So for us it will be quite hard to go for the general classification. The priority now will be to go for stage wins. The stage profiles are interesting, but the race, in my opinion, will favour the puncheurs. Realistically, it may be difficult for us, but we will do everything we can to be aggressive and on the offensive.”



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