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"With 37 kilometers to go, Christopher Juul had a bike change and as Kolar gave his wheel and Marko guided Chris back to the group, both Kolar and Kump were out of the finale. Boaro did a good job attacking in the finale but Meersman&r...

Photo: Sirotti




30.07.2014 @ 21:44 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Christopher Juul-Jensen made use of a rare chance to ride for himself to finish sixth overall in the Tour de Wallonie. His Tinkoff-Saxo team had planned to blow the race apart in the final stage but failed to break Omega Pharma-Quick Step's strangehold on the race.


The 176 kilometer long fifth and final stage of Tour de Wallonie between Malmedy and Ans was like Liege-Bastogne-Liege in terms of terrain and after the first four days of hard racing, this final stretch was a challenge for a big part of the peloton but Chris Juul-Jensen managed to retain 6th overall after a talk with the race organizers.


A breakaway consisting of Hugo Houle (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Vegard Stake Laengen (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Julien Fouchard (Cofidis), Gijs Van Hoecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Maxime Anciaux (Wallonie-Bruxelles) and Antoine Duchesne (Team Europcar) fought tenaciously in the front of the pack to maintain the gap but it was doomed.


On the counter-attack, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Manuele Boaro was working hard to create a gap and he was joined by Boris Dron (Wallonie-Bruxelles) who was dropped on the next climb. In a chase group, Christopher Juul-Jensen was monitoring the events of the finale while Matti Breschel was shadowing Gianni Meersman (Omega-Pharma Quick Step) in the peloton.


With 22 kilometers remaining, it was all together and the select group previously known as the peloton was down to 40 riders and now, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol) had a go. Cresting the penultimate slope 9 kilometers to go, Wellens had a lead of 25 seconds to the chasing pack.


But Omega-Pharma Quick Step never lost their cool and they calmly dragged everyone in another wild bunch sprint, Meersman took a well-deserved stage win to cap off the overall glory.


Despite several attempts from Tinkoff-Saxo, no riders finished among the first ten today, and the first official race report claimed that Christopher Juul-Jensen lost his overall 6th position as well. But as his delay was caused by a crash on the final kilometer, the race jury later announced that the Tinkoff-Saxo rider retained the overall 6th place.


“It was a tough final stage of the race and we wanted the shake things up along with Lotto-Belisol and Movistar but Omega-Pharma Quick Step were doing a great job for Meersman today," sports director Lars Michael said. "With 37 kilometers to go, Christopher Juul had a bike change and as Kolar gave his wheel and Marko guided Chris back to the group, both Kolar and Kump were out of the finale.


"Boaro did a good job attacking in the finale but Meersman’s guys were just too strong. However, the overall goal for us here was to get back into the rhythm of racing after a break and we’ve been very active throughout the race. I believe, that after a few days of recovery, the boys will be even stronger for the upcoming races."



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