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“The main problem was that Giacomo had stomach problems from the beginning. Stijn [Devolder] and Danilo [Hondo], too, I am not sure if they ate something, or what, but in the end we just didn’t have our day.”

Photo: Trek Factory Racing




28.07.2014 @ 20:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

One day after his great stage win, Giacomo Nizzolo lost all hope of repeating his overall victory from the 2012 edition of the Tour de Wallonie. The Italian is one of several Trek riders to suffer from stomach problems and today he lost more than 19 minutes to the best riders.


Seven climbs were scattered throughout the 174-kilometer stage, the first of three successive hilly stages in the Tour de Wallonie. The rainy, cool weather made for slick roads and added another level of difficulty to an already dicey parcours.


For Trek Factory Racing the day began on the wrong foot as a few riders in the team lined up at the start battling a stomach ailment, including yesterday’s winner Giacomo Nizzolo.   


“The main problem was that Giacomo had stomach problems from the beginning," sports director Dirk Demol said. "Stijn [Devolder] and Danilo [Hondo], too, I am not sure if they ate something, or what, but in the end we just didn’t have our day.”


A breakaway of four men formed at kilometer 38 and would dominate the action at the head of the race until 22 kilometers from the end. The regrouping of the peloton spurred numerous attacks, but the raging chase rolled over every attempt including the last solo move inside the final kilometer. On the slightly uphill finish the sprinters ruled the day again. 


Juan José Lobato (Movistar) was quickest, leaving Gianni Meersman (OPQS) as runner up for the third straight stage. Meersman’s consistent finishes have garnered him the overall lead, and he continues to hold the yellow jersey into stage four tomorrow.


Trek Factory Racing, despite battling illness that left them with significantly less horsepower, moved diligently into the leading positions inside the last 800 meters hoping to set up Boy van Poppel for the sprint. But the final blast on the uphill grade proved too much, leaving them, as well as most of the peloton, in the wake of the fastest few legs.


“It was a group of around 60 riders for the sprint and we had five there initially, then four when Danilo was unable to hold on at the end," Demol said. "They tried to do the sprint for Boy but it didn’t work. Giacomo was far behind, and so was Stijn. 


"It was not a good day for us, especially with the stomach problems of a few guys, but c’est la vie. We also had terrible weather today, and it appears to be much the same for tomorrow, but that’s the same for everyone.


"It will probably be difficult for us to make the GC here, but tomorrow is another day for a probable sprint and we will try again for a stage win.”


Two brutal stages with short, steep climbs remain and the battle for the overall, separated by seconds, is still wide open.



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