Tim Wellens takes Queen Stage at Tour of Guangxi
Oct 22 2017 02:39 pm CET

Tim Wellens takes Queen Stage at Tour of Guangxi
Tim Wellens takes Queen Stage at Tour of Guangxi
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LOTTO SOUDAL
GREE-TOUR OF GUANGXI

Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) has taken the victory at the Queen Stage of the Tour of Guangxi. The Belgian was the fastest at the uphill finish, crossing the line ahead of Bauke Mollema and Nicolas Roche.

The fourth stage of the race was 151 kilometres long between Nanning and Mashan Nongla and featured a first category climb a the end.

The day started with a breakaway of four riders. Victor Campenaerts (LottoNL-Jumbo), Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb), Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha-Alpecin) and Antonio Molina (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) got an advantage of more than seven minutes over the peloton and were reeled back in by the pack with six kilometres to go.

Nicolas Roche (BMC) made a move with 800 metres to go but Wellens accelerated taking Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) at his wheel and both crossed the finish line ahead of the Irishman. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Ben Hermans (BMC) were fourth and fifth in the stage.

Wellens now leads the General Classification and has four seconds on Mollema, nine on Roche, 13 on Alaphilippe and 16 on Hermans, with two stages to go.

"I didn’t feel super good at the start of the stage but the team gave me confidence," said the Belgian at the end of the stage. "My teammates helped me all day and kept me out of the wind. As we approached the finale I felt better and better and I had great legs on the final climb.

"Roche was the first to make his move, and I came back a bit later with Mollema. Then it was my turn to attack and I managed to go clear. Of course, it gives a very good feeling, everyone wanted to win today and it was not easy. It’s a special experience to race here. I have to say that the organization is super good, with nice hotels and beautiful roads. It is also good to show our team in such fashion in China. Our co-sponsor Soudal is also active here!"

The next two days will see Wellens and his team working to keep the lead in the GC. "I had previously said that this stage would be the most important for the overall classification, and today I happened to have a great day," he commented. Therefore, I hope that the last two days will be good for me as well.

"I am now in a very good position to defend the leader’s jersey, but I know it will not be easy, but I can count on a very strong team. I had said that I wanted to perform well here but there are a lot of factors that needed to go right in China, such as jet lag or the food, but it’s all been good so far."

At one kilometre from the start of the climb, there was a crash that involved riders like Wilco Kelderman, Albert Timmer, Max Walscheid (Sunweb) as well as Sonny Colbrelli, Mai-Yin Wang and Janez Brajkovic (Bahrain-Merida). The incident took Kelderman out of the race.
Photo of Tim Wellens (cropped) by Lotto-Soudal





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