uses cookies for statistics and targeting ads. This information is shared with third parties.

Every day we bring you more pro-cycling news

Having been part of the early breakaway, Wallays joined forces with Voeckler in the finale and held off the peloton before he beat his experienced rival in a two-rider sprint; Debusschere won the sprint for third











12.10.2014 @ 17:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jelle Wallays completed a great season for his Topsport Vlaanderen team when he took a hugely surprising victory in the final classic of the year, Paris-Tours. The young Belgian joined the early break and managed to follow Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in the finale before he beat the veteran in a sprint. Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol) won the sprint for third.


In late January, Kenneth Vanbilsen won the first European race of the season when he emerged as the strongest in the GP la Marseillaise. Today Topsport Vlaanderen bookended a fantastic season with wins when Jelle Wallays took a hugely surprising victory in the final big classic, Paris-Tours.


On a wet and windy day in France, Wallays tried his luck right from the beginning of the long race when he joined the early 7-rider breakaway. For most of the day, it seemed that the race would follow the usual script as FDJ and Giant-Shimano combined forces in the peloton in an attempt to set up a bunch sprint for big favourites John Degenkolb and Arnaud Demare but nothing went according to plan for the two major teams.


The 7 escapees proved to be harder to catch than initially expected and things didn’t get any easier when several crashes on the slippery roads took out numerous Giant-Shimano and FDJ riders. This left Demare and Degenkolb with limited manpower in the finale and Garmin-Sharp and Lotto Belisol lent a hand way too late.


While the peloton chased desperately, the front group was gradually whittled down. First Cesare Bendetti (NetApp-Endura) punctured out of the group and later Pierre Gouault (BigMat), Julein Duval (Roubaix) and Yoann Paillot (La Pomme) were dropped. Finally, Voeckler attacked on the penultimate climb with 10km to go, leaving Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty) behind.


However, Wallays was glued to his wheel and the pair quickly realized that they had to work together to stay away. Behind, Giant-Shimano had hit the panic button and on the penultimate climb, Ramon Sinkeldam and Degenkolb attacked hard.


They ended up in a 10-rider but as only Dylan Teuns (BMC) and Sinkeldam contributed to the work, they failed to reduce their 20-second deficit to the front duo. Instead, they started to lose ground and with 3km to go, the chase group was brought back.


At this point, the peloton was 40 seconds behind and the hard chase work by Garmin-Sharp, Lotto Belisol and Belkin was not enough to bring the escapees back. Passing the red kite, the escapees knew that they would stay away and the game of cat and mouse could start.


Voeckler led for most of the final kilometre before he launched a long sprint. Wallays stayed completely cool and had no trouble passing his experienced rival to take the biggest win of his short career. 12 seoncds later Jens Debusschere won the sprint for third while both Demare and Degenkolb decided not to contest it.


With Paris-Tours done and dusted, only two races are left on the European calendar. On Tuesday, the Belgian season ends with the Nationale Sluitingsprijs before the time triallists end their season next Sunday in the Chrono des Nations.


A flat course

The 108th edition of Paris-Tours took place on a 237.5km course from Bonneval to Tours. As always, the roads were almost completely flat while the riders travelled to the south but in the finale, they did a small loop around the finishing city, going up the climbs of the Cote de Beau Soleil and Cote de l’Epan inside the final 12km before the final descent led to 5 flat kilometres in the end.


159 riders took the start under a cloudy sky after light rain had been falling in the morning. As it is often the case in the French classic, there was no big fight to join the early break and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Jelle Wallays (Topsport), Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty), Cesare Benedetti (NetApp) and Yaonn Paillot (La Pomme) were allowed to escape almost straight from the gun.


A big gap

After 7km of racing, the quintet were already 4.25 ahead but that hadn’t prevented Pierre Gouault (BigMat) and Julien Duval (Roubaix) from trying to bridge the gap. The pair made the junction to make it a front septet that was 6.40 ahead at the 15km mark.


That was as much as they would get though as the sprint teams now started to control the situation. While it started to rain, they kept the gap stable around the 6-minute mark for a long time.


Chavanel hits the deck

As they approached the 100km mark, the peloton accelerated and after 97km of racing, they had reduced their deficit to 4.35. At this point, Sylvain Chavanel (IAM) and Romain Feillu (Bretagne) went down in a crash but they got back on their bikes without having suffered any major injuries.


In the feed zone, the gap was down to 3.25 while the first major names started to abandon the race. Iljo Keisse (OPQS), Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin) and Thomas De Gendt (OPQS) were among the biggest riders to step into the team cars and put an end to their season.


Giant and FDJ lead the chase

The early work was done by Giant-Shimano and FDJ as Thierry Hupond, Tom Stamsnijder, David Boucher and Arnaud Courteille had been trading pulls for most of the day. With 60km to go, they got some assistance from a single MTN-Qhubeka rider and they were now just 2.10 behind the front group which had lost Benedetti due to a puncture.


At this point, Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin) and Pim Ligthart (Lotto) attacked and they quickly built an advantage of 30 seconds. They picked up Benedetti but as Giant and FDJ continued to chase hard, they brought the three chasers back with 41km to go. At this point, MTN were no longer contributing to the pace-setting.


Many crashes

With 37km to go, the first of many crashes happened when Eugenio Alafaci, Romain Zingle and Sebastien Turgot were among the riders to hit the deck. No one was seriously hurt but the incident split the peloton into several groups.


Stamsnijder, Hupond, Courteille and Boucher had now blown up but the pace was still very fast. With a crosswind blowing from the right, lots of riders were dropped as the peloton was whittled dramaticaaly down.


Offredo hits the deck

Clement Koretzky (Bretagne) attacked shortly before the Cote de Crochu with 30km to go and he was joined by Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar). They stayed clear for a little while but with 25km to go hey were back in the fold.


As the peloton hit the Cote de Crochu, Yoann Offredo who was setting the pace for FDJ, was one of a few riders to slide out and this signaled the start of the bad luck for Giant-Shimano and FDJ. Instead, Roy Curvers, Bert De Backer and Nikias Arndt started to chase for Giant and they brought the gap down to 1.25.


The break splits up

FDJ went back to work too as Offredo and Laurent Pichon started to work hard while the front group split in two, with Van Melsen, Wallays and Voeckler taking off. Remy Di Gregorio and Engoulvent launched a fruitless attack but it was impossible to get away due to the fast pace.


With 19km to go, another crash took out lots of NetApp riders but that didn’t take the momentum out of the chase. Despite the fast pace, however, the gap was relatively constant at 1.30.


Voeckler attacks

With 15km to go, Lotto Belisol joined forces with Giant and FDJ but moments later, the chase effort was set back when a crash took out several FDJ and Giant riders. Demare and Matti Breschel (Tinkoff) were both held up and were now riding far back in the fast-moving group.


With 10km to go, a 30-rider peloton hit the Cote de Beau Soleil and they were now only 30 seconds behind the front group. This prompted Voeckler to attack and while Van Melsen was dropped, Wallays managed to stay close to the Europcar rider.


Sinkeldam and Degenkolb accelerate

Behind, Sinkeldam and Degenkolb accelerated hard before being passed by Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin). At the top, the trio had been joined by Vicente Reynes (IAM), Teuns, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Jempy Drucker (Wanty), Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis) and two Lotto riders to form an 11-rider group.


Sinkeldam and Teuns worked hard but the gap remained stable at around 30 seconds. On the Cote de l’Epan, Lemoine attacked which was too much for Sinkeldam and Reynes who got dropped.


The chasers  are caught

Teuns went back to work but as none of the other riders wanted to contribute, the group slowed down and the front duo started to extend their advantage. Reynes and Sinkeldam rejoined the group but when the latter started to chase with Teuns, the pair got an unintentional gap.


While Sinkeldam decided to wait for his captain, Teuns continued alone. Behind, Demare, Dylan van Baarle (Garmin) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek) bridged across to the Degenkolb group but as there was no organized chase, the group was caught by the peloton.


Garmin leads the chase

Van Baarle started to chase hard for Garmin but the peloton was 40 seconds behind with less than 2km to go. At this point, Teuns had been caught. The Garmin rider got some assistance from Lotto and Belkin but as the escapees passed the red kite, it was clear that they would stay away.


Wallays refused to take more turns, leaving all the work to Voeckler. With 300m to go, the Europcar captain launched  a long sprint but Wallays easily passed him to take the biggest win of his short career.



The Best Danish Cyclist To Bet On At 2022 Tour De France 13.01.2022 @ 15:262022 Upcoming Tournament Overview 03.01.2022 @ 09:45Best Place to Find Stand-Up Paddleboards 16.06.2021 @ 08:16What are Primoz Roglic’s Chances to Win 2021 Tour de Fr... 17.03.2021 @ 08:37Amazing victory by young champion Sarah Gigante 04.02.2021 @ 14:21Three reasons why cycling is one of the best ways to ex... 28.09.2020 @ 12:03Why do businesses use meeting room managers? 14.09.2020 @ 13:42Five things that you can do, if you want to gain more f... 20.08.2020 @ 15:38One for the road 09.06.2020 @ 15:25List of CyclingQuotes previews 07.05.2020 @ 13:20Blue Energy: room for all interests 26.08.2019 @ 12:56Get your daily dose of exercise at home 08.07.2019 @ 10:443 good advice to be able to afford your favorite bike 25.02.2019 @ 12:32Cycle through gorgeous landscapes 22.10.2018 @ 21:41Balance Your Economy and Diet and Start Saving Money 08.10.2018 @ 11:18Stay Safe: 3 Helmets That Can Keep Your Head Protected... 20.07.2018 @ 07:59Planning to bet on Tour De France - Bet types and strat... 24.05.2018 @ 14:18Basics of cycling betting 25.10.2017 @ 13:10Bauer moves to ORICA-SCOTT 28.08.2017 @ 10:45End of the road for CyclingQuotes 08.01.2017 @ 16:00Rui Costa confirms Giro participation 07.01.2017 @ 12:55Van Avermaet: I am not afraid of Sagan 07.01.2017 @ 09:45Unchanged course for E3 Harelbeke 07.01.2017 @ 09:32Jenner takes surprise win at Australian U23 Championships 07.01.2017 @ 08:53No replacement for Meersman at Fortuneo-Vital Concept 06.01.2017 @ 19:14Barguil with two goals in 2017 06.01.2017 @ 19:06More details about French Vuelta start emerges 06.01.2017 @ 14:16Kristoff to start season at Etoile de Besseges 06.01.2017 @ 14:10Ion Izagirre announces schedule for first year at Bahrain 06.01.2017 @ 12:40JLT Condor optimistic for Herald Sun Tour 06.01.2017 @ 09:19Haas leads Dimension Data trio in fight for Australian... 06.01.2017 @ 09:15Sagan spearheads Bora-hansgrohe at Tour Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:12Henao and Thomas lead Sky Down Under 06.01.2017 @ 09:09Bauer crowned New Zealand TT champion 06.01.2017 @ 08:33Van der Poel ready to defend Dutch title 05.01.2017 @ 21:00Pantano ambitious for first Tour with Trek 05.01.2017 @ 20:41Landa with new approach to the Giro 05.01.2017 @ 20:36Sunweb Development Team sign Goos and Zepuntke 05.01.2017 @ 20:27Dumoulin confirms Giro participation 05.01.2017 @ 20:19Bauer targets victories in Quick-Step debut 05.01.2017 @ 20:16Gaviria and Boonen lead Quick-Step in San Juan 05.01.2017 @ 20:13Team Sunweb presented in Germany 05.01.2017 @ 20:09ASO take over major German WorldTour race 05.01.2017 @ 11:01Team Sunweb unveil new jersey 05.01.2017 @ 10:54Reactions from the Australian TT Championships 05.01.2017 @ 08:27Dennis defends Australian TT title 05.01.2017 @ 08:21Scotson takes back to back U23 TT titles in Australia 05.01.2017 @ 08:15Utrecht on track to host 2020 Vuelta 04.01.2017 @ 18:28Pre-season setback for Talansky 04.01.2017 @ 17:56Kristoff: It's not impossible for me to win in Rou... 04.01.2017 @ 17:49Boom close to first cyclo-cross win in LottoNL debut 04.01.2017 @ 17:40UAE Abu Dhabi make late signing of Arab rider 04.01.2017 @ 17:36UAE Abu Dhabi unveil new jersey 04.01.2017 @ 17:30BMC unveil race schedule 04.01.2017 @ 17:21Androni sign Costa Rican super talent 04.01.2017 @ 17:13

Currently no news in this list

24 years | today
28 years | today
28 years | today
Alex David Mayer ARSENO
40 years | today
38 years | today