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"This is something new for me, normally I win in the sprint. It was very nervous going into the downhill [before the climb] and a big fight for position. We knew that we could win it there, but it was tough with just three."

Photo: Trek Factory Racing




29.07.2015 @ 19:53 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Danny van Poppel attacked at the bottom of the steep, cobbled climb that topped out just before the finish of the final stage in the Tour de Wallonie Wednesday and soloed to his second victory of the five-day race.


With only four riders, Trek Factory Racing used its resources perfectly to lead Danny van Poppel into the tricky s-turn at the bottom of the Mur de Thuin where he made his move early, opting not to wait for the sprint, and opened a gap that no one could close.


“I know I am good in uphill finishes so I thought let’s just try and see what happens,” explained Danny van Poppel. “I went full gas up the climb. At the top, I looked back because if Gilbert was there then I knew it was over. When I saw I had a gap I just went as hard as I could, it was still a long way to the finish line and I did not know if I would hold it.


"Two stage victories in the Tour de Wallonie is pretty amazing. I knew it was possible but it also requires a little luck. I took the risk and it paid off. Obviously I knew the Mur de Thuin was hard with its cobblestones. It was Matti Breschel who tried first. I passed him and I found myself alone. I thought the other favorites would come back but I made it. It is also noteworthy that this is the first time that I win in another way than after a bunch sprint. "


Danny van Poppel had enough time at the finish to sit up and savor his win. Three seconds later Philippe Gilbert (BMC} sprinted to second place over Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo), who claimed third.


Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step) finished in sixth to seal the overall win.


"This is something new for me, normally I win in the sprint,” Danny van Poppel continued. “It was very nervous going into the downhill [before the climb] and a big fight for position. We knew that we could win it there, but it was tough with just three, but Boy [van Poppe] did a great job. He was first into the chicane into the climb and I just went from there.”


Director Dirk Demol was elated at the finish as the team exceeded its goals at the Tour de Wallonie with Danny van Poppel claiming two stage wins, fourth overall, and clinched the points competition.


“We came here with the ambition to win a stage and finish high in the overall,” said Demol. “So to end with two stages and a fourth is nice. With four riders in the race, we had to gamble and we were lucky that the other teams did the work.


“The climb was nine percent and on cobbles and very narrow and we knew Danny had a chance with a finish like that. Our plan was to wait, wait, wait and Popo [Yaroslav Popovych] and Boy were perfect to bring Danny in good position.  When you have the legs you just never know – you just have to believe in yourself and try – and Danny did just that. It was a nice win.”



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