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"The début of Tim Wellens was more than successful. He was very strong this last week with among other a second place in Vittorio Veneto on Wednesday and the ninth place in the mountain time trial on Friday," Leysen says

Photo: Sirotti










02.06.2014 @ 11:29 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Lotto Belisol had an impressive streak of stage wins in the Giro d'Italia but in 2014 the team failed to come away with a victory. The goal of a top 10 for Maxime Monfort wasn't achieved either but the team was very pleased by the very promising performance by young Tim Wellens in his grand tour debut.


After more than three weeks the Giro d'Italia finished in Trieste yesterday after a last stage of 172 kilometers. Lars Bak attacked on the local circuit with Svein Tuft and Adam Hansen tried to jump away on a hill, but a bunch sprint couldn't be avoided. Luka Mezgec won. Tosh Van der Sande became eighth.
Nairo Quintana conquered the pink jersey. Rigoberto Uran and Fabio Aru could join him on the podium. Maxime Monfort was fourteenth in the overall classification, at less than half an hour of the number one. In the mountain classification Tim Wellens ended on place four.
Lotto Belisol showed itself in several breaks during this Giro and Wellens was two times close to the victory. The team reached Trieste with seven of the nine riders after Dennis Vanendert didn't start in the fourteenth stage because of a torn muscle and Kenny Dehaes finished out of time in the time trial on Friday after his chain snapped twice. The judges didn't show any mercy.
Sports director Bart Leysen, Maxime Monfort, Tim Wellens and Adam Hansen look back on this Giro.
"The eighth place of Maxime Monfort on the Monte Zoncolan yesterday was a strong result," Leysen said. "It's nice he could join a break at the end of the Giro and showed himself. We didn't reach the goal of top ten. We had hoped he would finish higher than the fourteenth place, but in the mountains he couldn't follow the better riders.
"The début of Tim Wellens was more than successful. He was very strong this last week with among other a second place in Vittorio Veneto on Wednesday and the ninth place in the mountain time trial on Friday. He picked out his stages.
"It was also the début in a Grand Tour for Sander Armée. He got better towards the end and felt good in the mountains. He did a nice job helping Monfort.
"I'm very satisfied that the guys often tried to join a breakaway and that succeeded several times, unfortunately we didn't get a win. Tim got close two times and in the stage to Plan di Montecampione Adam Hansen had a big chance if the break had gotten more space.
"It was a big disappointment that Kenny Dehaes had to leave the Giro two days before the end because of mechanical problems. The riders turned the anger into a good performance yesterday."
Satisfied with top 15
"I wanted to join a breakaway this last week and yesterday was my last chance," Monfort said. "I'm happy it worked out. I couldn't play along for the stage win, but eighth is a good result on the Monte Zoncolan.
"When I take a look at the GC the fourteenth place maybe wasn't the best possible, it was possible to get to place eleven. Top ten wasn't possible. I knew it would be difficult and I'm satisfied with top fifteen. Thursday, when Tim was in the break in the stage to Rifugio Panarotta, I wanted to be in it as well. But I got away yesterday.
"There are several stages in which I lost time and if you add it up you get to the difference with the eleventh place. The top ten had a high level. It's the correct result, Quintana was the best. The entire podium is as it should be.
"The Vuelta is my next big goal this season. It seems far away, but it's yet close. The preparation will start soon, but first I'll take some rest. My race programme isn't fixed yet, but there will definitely be training camps in the mountains."
Better than expected
"I didn't expect my first Giro, my first Grand Tour, would go this well," Wellens said." The first week I had a good feeling, the second week I was a bit worried because it didn't turn out as I wanted. I pulled through and had a great final week.
"In the next races I'll hopefully feel the effect of the fact that I finished a Grand Tour. If I now take part in a race of one week, it will definitely seem much shorter. If I want to aim for a GC in a Grand Tour, I have to perform more in one line. Then I believe it's possible.
"I battled for the victory a few times, unfortunately it didn't work out. I also played a role in the mountain classification. When I was in the break with Arredondo on Thursday I knew he was stronger and that the mountain jersey wasn't an option anymore."
Hansen is disappointed 
"I'm disappointed there weren't sufficient stages for a breakaway to make it to the end," Hansen said. "Because there were few opportunities, I had to grab all what was possible; I didn't pick out one stage in particular.
"It's a pity I have to go home empty-handed, I would have loved to win a stage. I often tried to get in a breakaway, but then didn't get any space. Last Sunday I was in a good break, but a team that had missed it, started chasing us. That was a shame. I really believe I could have won that day, I felt really good and was climbing strongly.
"The ZLM Toer is my next race and then I'll go to the Tour de France, my next Grand Tour. That will be the ninth in a row."



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