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"It was hard, yes, but it is a very successful operation which gives me value. My next goal is to win a stage in the Vuelta.”

Photo: IAM Cycling


27.07.2016 @ 21:36 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Dries Devenyns (IAM) continued his fantastic 2016 season by claiming his second overall stage race victory after a win in the queen stage of the Tour de Wallonie. The Belgian attacked hard on the final climb and built enough of an advantage to narrowly hold off a small chase group that was led to the line by Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal) and Evgeny Shalunov (Gazprom-Rusvelo). By putting 8 seconds into race leader Gianni Meersan (Etixx-QuickStep), the win was enough to take the overall victory ahead of the Etixx-QuickStep sprinter and Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha).


We have gathered a few reations.


Victorious Dries Devenyns: Now I want to win a stage in the Vuelta

Thanks to his victory in the final stage of the Tour de Wallonie, Dries Devenyns also managed to take the overall win at the last possible moment of this Belgian race. At the end of May, Devenyns also won the Baloise Belgium Tour in a similar fashion by taking a stage and the overall classification.


“I am very happy about this success,” he said. “The last few weeks have not been easy since I had to abandon the Tour de Suisse and then could not start the Tour de France due to illness.


“Something else that is satisfying is how this victory came about today. I knew I felt good, and was probably one of the strongest in the field. Add to that the fact that the team performed exactly as we said we would in the team meeting this morning. We were able to be competitive in the final attacks, and made the tempo seriously hard for everyone else. And then I managed to finish off such strong teamwork with a good win.


"It's really incredible to win the stage and the overall classification. The team did a very good job by making several attacks in the final. Personally, I was well placed 2 kilometers from the finish. I attacked. It was close, but I managed to win. I was a bit sick during the previous stages.

"I have a great season in 2016 with my victory in the GP La Marseillaise and the Tour of Belgium. This victory at Tour de Wallonie is definitely a surprise. But my team did an outstanding job to position me in with 30 kilometers to go. I focused everything on the last climb and Meersman was not able to follow. It was hard, yes, but it is a very successful operation which gives me value. My next goal is to win a stage in the Vuelta.”


Clément Chevrier and Jonas Van Genechten took part in a counter attack 30 kilometers from the finish in a four man break. In the course of their escape, the four racers took the correct direction around a large roundabout, while the hard-charging field took a shorter route and quickly crushed the lead of the escapees.


Thierry Marichal, who was directeur sportif at the Tour de Wallonie along with Eddy Seigneur, was very satisfied with the double success for the team.


“Our tactic for today was planned exactly how it ended up being executed. We wanted to work for Dries Devenyns, so Dries was able to attack with two kilometers to the finish on the last climb. All said and done. The whole team worked hard, and did a great job. Even though Ettix-Quickstep made a strong impression throughout the day, we were able to turn the race in our favor in the final.”


Counting the stage victory and the overall classification triumph in the Tour de Wallonie by Dries Devenyns, IAM Cycling has already tallied 46 podiums since the beginning of the 2016 season. That is the total number of podiums the team took in the entire 2015 season. This also matches the number of victories (15) that IAM Cycling notched up all last season.


Gianni Meersman: Devenyns was just stronger than me

July is about to end and it can be easily considered as one of Etixx – Quick-Step’s best months of the season, as the team scored six victories (four of which came in the World Tour) across three races: Tour de France, Tour de Pologne and Tour de Wallonie. Most recently, the outfit enjoyed success on home turf, at the Tour de Wallonie, where Tom Boonen and Matteo Trentin scored a win apiece, while Gianni Meersman came second in the standings after a remarkable consistency shown throughout the week.


The 30-year-old Belgian started the final stage of the event (Engis – Dison, 188 kilometers) in the yellow jersey and was protected by his teammates, as Etixx – Quick-Step controlled with a strong grip the nine-man break, which didn’t get too much room, as well as the attacks which came on the final lap, when several riders tried to put pressure on the leader. David De La Cruz and Matteo Trentin (who claimed the green jersey at the end of the day) kept everything together until the final climb – Côte de Val Fassotte (1400 meters, 5.8%) – where Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling) put in a fierce acceleration and gapped his opponents.


Despite a powerful and organized chase, the Belgian went on to take the victory on the uphill drag to the finish, ahead of Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Soudal) and Evgeny Shalunov (Gazprom-RusVelo), and thanks to the bonus seconds, also the general classification, with a 5-second margin over Meersman, the 2014 champion, who finished on the Tour de Wallonie podium for the second time in his career, following the 2012 edition.


“The team was very strong today and worked really hard, keeping me sheltered and in a good position, but on the last ascent, Dries Devenyns was just stronger than me and although I did everything in my power, it wasn’t enough to keep the jersey”, Gianni Meersman said soon after concluding the race. “I am disappointed now, but I will try to take the positives out of this week and carry my good form into the next race, Vuelta a Burgos (ed. – August 2-6).”


Matteo Trentin: Sometimes someone is better than you

"When you look at the last climb, we were at the front,” Matteo Trentin told Directvelo. “There were lots of climbers with us in the group. We gave the best of ourselves. But sometimes that is not enough. We had the yellow jersey every day, except today. We made ​​a very good race. We wanted to win, but sometimes someone is better than you.”

In-form Viacheslav Kuznetsov on the podium in Wallonie

The great teamwork of KATUSHA was the key moment which allowed Viacheslav Kuznetsov to reach the final podium of the 37th VOO-Tour de Wallonie.


”I had very strong support today during the entire stage. The guys helped me all the way to the finish, especially on the last two laps. I want to thank my team for this day and for the final podium I got in this race,” explained Viacheslav Kuznetsov.


The decisive moment of the last and 5th stage became the final climb with 3,5 km to the finish line. A number of attacks exploded the peloton, causing the leader of the race Gianni Meersman from Etixx – Quick Step to be dropped from the group. At the same time Belgian rider Dries Devenyns from IAM Cycling did an attack closer to the top of the Cote de Val Fassotte (1,4 km, 5,8%). Three Team KATUSHA riders, Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Russian Champion Pavel Kochetkov and Egor Silin began to chase him. Kochetkov and Silin did amazing job and almost caught Devenyns with a few hundred meters to go.


”We almost caught him with 500 meters to go, but there was not another way but only to start the sprint. I did everyhing possible in the sprint and it was close, but it was impossible to get more. I finished 4th. That was enough for the podium, and I can be satisfied with this result. Besides, I won the sprints classification. I was able to get points on the first day and later the team helped me to hold it until the last day. It is a nice bonus in this race. In general, I like the Tour de Wallonie. Two years ago I was 7th, last year I felt quite good, but crashed. This time I reached the podium and this makes me happy. I feel good in this kind of race,” added Viacheslav Kuznetsov.


"The team worked for me today. In the final, I tried to attack. But Dries Devenyns was really strong. He rode away. We did the work to bring him back in the last 500 meters. I tried to sprint, but the others were too strong for me. I actually gave the best of myself.


”I love the fuchsia sprints jersey. I went in a breakaway on the first day and I took points for this classification. The next day I did another sprint and it was enough to keep this jersey.”

Stage 5 started in Engis and finished in Dison after 188 km. In the first part of the stage a group of riders broke away together with KATUSHA’s Nils Politt. He did very good work in the break, protecting the podium place of Viacheslav Kuznetsov, taking points and seconds in the intermediate sprints. After the break was caught, KATUSHA riders did everything possible to neutralize all attacks. Until the last 3 km to go nobody could escape from the peloton and only the attack of Devenyns decided both the stage and overall classification. Viacheslav Kuznetsov was 4th, while Egor Silin finished 8th.


“We had a good plan for the stage. We sent Nils Politt in the break, and he did a very good job there – he took control over the every single intermediate sprint, making sure to not give the rivals the chance to take the bonus seconds and to pass Kuznetsov in general classification. Later, the team did it well, protecting Viacheslav in front of the peloton. On the last climb, the attack of Devenyns was really strong. Kochetkov and Silin did their best to bring him back, they almost caught him on the finish line and we missed just a little, because Viacheslav had a very good chance to win. Anyway, I think KATUSHA did a good race – we were active day by day, the team was united around its leader. A final podium in GC is a nice result,” said sports director Gennady Mikhaylov.


Viacheslav Kuznetsov completed the overall podium of the race with 3rd place (+0.06). Kuznetsov won the intermediate sprint classification with Nils Politt and Vladimir Isaychev on second and third places, respectively. Also, Nils Politt took second place in mountain classification.


A race of near-misses for Roompot in Wallonia

Just outside the medal: this is in brief the story for Toompot - Orange Peloton in the VOO Tour de Wallonie.  Huub Duijn took a ninth place in the queen stage and eleventh place in the GC as the best-placed rider in the selection of Michel Cornelisse.


"And for him, more was really possible. If Huub had been in a better position for the final climbs, a top ten was possible," said the team leader in Dison. "In the penultimate stage, Duijn, Michel Kreder and Etienne van Empel were also great in the first group. By showing just a little more initiative in the finals, they miss the chance of podium places and precious seconds," said Cornelisse. "Etienne incidentally had a lot of bad luck in the final stage with a flat tire in the final. That cost him a good result."


After two sprint stages where André Looij could not interfere in the sprints, the basis for the GC was laid in the third stage to Vielsalm. Michel Kreder (15th), Van Empel and Duijn finished it in the top twenty. Dimitri won Claes. One day later, Kreder (12th) and Duijn (17th) were in front.


After a long absence through injury, Kai Reus and Jesper Asselman were making their comeback. 


"Kai decided to quit in the penultimate stage and still need some time. Jesper suffered but came through well as the days progressed and was in a breakaway on the last day," Cornelisse said.


Baptiste Planckaert saves disappointing race by winning the mountains jersey in Wallonia

Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie) won the mountains jersey.


"Thomas Deruette and I tried to be in the breakaway today. Finally, I found myself there. And I managed to keep my jersey. I had to take points. There were many to take today. I must confess that I knew nothing about the ascents. I was not even interested in the number of points that I could take. My goal at this Tour de Wallonie was to achieve good results in the various stages. Unfortunately, I crashed  on the second day. I save my Tour with this jersey. My next goal is to win the Polynormande on Sunday. "



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