Lotto Soudal: Fifth place for Thomas De Gendt on nineteenth Tour stage pubblicato il 21/07/2017

Lotto Soudal: Fifth place for Thomas De Gendt on nineteenth Tour stage

The nineteenth Tour stage, with 222.5 kilometres the longest stage of this edition, was an opportunity for breakaway riders to take the win. Many wanted to get in the front group which made it a fast beginning of the stage with a lot of attempts to jump away from the peloton. 35 kilometres after the start in Embrun a front group of twenty riders was established, including Lotto Soudal riders Thomas De Gendt and Tony Gallopin. The peloton let go and gave them up to ten minutes advantage. The winner would be one of the escapees.
 
It was a smooth cooperation in the front group until the last fifty kilometres of the stage when a climb of third category turned up on the course. Despite several attacks, the front group didn’t fall apart, but the pace wouldn’t drop anymore. With twenty kilometres to go, Jens Keukeleire raised the tempo a bit more and nine riders got a gap. De Gendt was one of them. At less than four kilometres from the end, Edvald Boasson Hagen took a few metres lead on a roundabout and that would be the start of a solo. The Norwegian won the stage to Salon-de-Provence. Thomas de Gendt finished fifth at seventeen seconds. 1’37” after Boasson Hagen Tony Gallopin crossed the finish line as eighteenth.
 
Thomas De Gendt: “We knew there were two possible scenarios today: let a small group take off and control the gap or join the break if it is large enough. It became the second option. It was not my intention to get in the break today, I thought I would have to pull in the peloton, but after a descent we got a gap. We all worked together and pretty soon we knew we would battle for the stage win. Sky did not give us an enormous advantage as AG2R had a rider in front with Bakelants and that could influence the team classification.”
 
“I knew whom I had to keep an eye on: Boasson Hagen, Chavanel and Keukeleire. They are dangerous in these kind of situations. I think none of us was very confident, also Boasson Hagen attacked and didn’t wait for the sprint. I felt that I had been in the break a few times before, but everybody is tired. I hope this was an extra push for me to get the Super Combativity Award, that would be a wonderful reward. Unfortunately the fifth place was the highest possible result for me today.”
 



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