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"I joined the break because I wanted to test myself and improve my condition. I was not aimong for the GC but who knows, maybe it could have been a successful escape."

Photo: Trek Factory Racing






30.07.2014 @ 00:36 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Yesterday the Trek duo of Giacomo Nizzolo and Stijn Devolder were both suffering from illness but they recovered in a completely different way. While the Italian was still feeling bad and abandoned the Tour de Wallonie in today's stage, the Belgian animated the race in the early break.


The 174.9-kilometer stage four raised a notch in difficulty - eleven catogorized climbs dotted the narrow, twisty Belgian roads – but in the end 60 riders stormed under the last kilometer’s red kite as another sprint finish unfolded.


Tom Van Asbroeck (Topsport-Vlaanderen) won the kick to the line, leaving the yellow jersey of Gianni Meersman (OPQS) in second place for an incredible fourth time in four days.


Eugenio Alafaci was the highest finisher for Trek Factory Racing in 11th place.


Noteably absent from the final melee was Trek Factory Racing’s sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo.  Nizzolo climbed off his bike before the midway point, finally succumbing to the illness that already plagued him yesterday.


“The bad thing is that Giacomo had to abandon today," sports director Dirk Demol said. "He felt sick already yesterday and it is not normal that he is dropped from a group of 70-75 riders. He felt empty, a bit like he is fighting a fever, so he stopped after 70 kilometers.”


The day's key breakaway established on the second of the eleven catorgorized climbs after 26 kilometers had been raced. A few breakaway attempts formed and dissolved, and it was on the Côte de la Gileppe that three riders jumped clear to try again. Sensing this was the moment, Stijn Devolder quickly bridged to the trio and the day’s breakaway was set. The long, slow pursuit played out over the next 100 kilometers.


“It was good to see Stijn in the break and feeling much better after yesterday," Demol said. "The break never had more than three minutes, so normally we knew they had no chance. But it was good that we were there, we were present, and gave it a go.”


"I joined the break because I wanted to test myself and improve my condition," Devolder said. "I was not aimong for the GC but who knows, maybe it could have been a successful escape. When I was caught, I immediately stopped my effort as I didn't want to go tto deep. This race will serve me well in the new few weeks."


The four men were in jeopardy of being caught with 45 kilometers still to ride, and Devolder, sensing it was now or never,  launched a few attacks. Although he was not allowed any freedom, his aggression dropped the weakest rider and stretched the gap again, giving life back to the escape.


However, with 26 kilometers to go it was all for naught.


Lotto-Belisol then joined forces with Omega Pharma-QuickStep at the front to help snuff out last-ditch attacks, and one large bunch raced into the last kilometer.


“A group of 50-60 riders came into the finish together with only Eugenio and Laurent [Didier] there," Demol said. "On the last climb it split and Boy [van Poppel], Danilo [Hondo], and Jasper [Stuyven] were with a group of 20 that didn’t quite make it back; they arrived 40 seconds behind the main peloton. It was not really good for us today, but hey, that’s the race. With Giacomo out we didn’t have a card to play today.


"Tomorrow is the queen stage with the last 25-kilometers the same as Liège–Bastogne–Liège.This is often what happens here, the teams with the climbers wait, wait, wait for the final day.  Tomorrow we may see a more select group and we hope that Laurent can do something.”



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