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“Fifth place in the GC I think is a good result, for me and the team, and this is the first time I experience being the leader for the GC.  I think this was a good starting point, and now I hope to progress next time."

Photo: Sirotti






16.08.2015 @ 22:34 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Eneco Tour ended Sunday with a tough 188.6-kilometer stage that mirrored a reduced version of the Tour of Flanders, keeping the overall contenders on edge and attentive one final time.


Trek Factory Racing rallied around Fabio Felline to keep the Italian’s fifth place in the general classification intact with a difficult parcours that could easily create differences, right to the tricky uphill finish that ended half way up the cobbled slopes of the iconic Muur Van Geraardsbergen.


Marco Coledan joined an early 14-man escape group, giving the pinstripes representation in a strong breakaway that had almost every team present. When the break finally exploded the first time up the Muur, Coledan continued to fight, staying with the remainder of his breakaway companions when a chase group latched on.


Finally, the peloton absorbed him and a few others with 22 kilometers to go as the relentless attacks on the final steep uphills began taking its toll. Even then, Coledan continued to pull at the front, helping the team regulate a situation that could quickly get out of control.


“For me it was a really hard day,” said a noticeably fatigued Coledan. “But I was motivated to work for Fabio – to work for my leader – and that made it special. For me, it was like the 14th stage as I came right from the Tour of Poland. [There was only one day between the two WorldTour stage races – ed]. It was a hard day, but I had good legs. I am happy with my performance, but even more happy for the team.”


With no threats to the GC in the day’s escape, three men persisted from the original 14 riders and entered the final kilometers with enough time in hand to fight for the stage win. Manuel Quinziato (BMC) launched the winning move on the final climb of the day and soloed the final five kilometers to take a well-earned win.


Behind the peloton swept up all remaining chasers and thwarted the last minute attacks to arrive at the bottom of the Muur in the sprint for fourth place.


Boy van Poppel and Jasper Stuyven helped Fabio Felline keep top position in the more than 50-strong peloton for the tricky uphill finish where gaps could easily result in a significant time loss.



Felline finished safely in 17th place and held on to his fifth place overall, while behind splits resulted in a few changes to the minor places in the leaderboard’s top 10.


Director Dirk Demol was all smiles after he witnessed the team’s strong cohesive work in the race, and summed up the week:


“To be honest we came here to win a stage and we were very close in the second stage with Danny [van Poppel], we had several top ten places, and we go home with a fifth place. We had hoped to have someone in the top 10 in the strong field that is here, and we achieved that.  All reasons to be happy in a WorldTour level race – we go home with something and more than that I have to say that I have seen a real strong team again this week. They were all there, all working for Fabio, and they all did a great job, so…well done!”


The top of GC remained the same as Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) secured the overall win over second-placed Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and third-placed Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo).


Philippe Gilbert (BMC) held onto fourth, just ahead of Felline who cemented a respectful fifth place – a fantastic performance in his first attempt at racing for the GC.


“Today was an important day for me,” said Felline. “I wanted to maintain my fifth place at the very least and maybe improve on it if I could. To be honest, I had tired legs from yesterday, and I did not feel sharp in this parcours - in these ramps with the cobblestones. I just didn’t have it today and had to race to defend only. I think I did that well, I was able to close the dangerous gaps, but to make the difference with an attack was not possible.


“Fifth place in the GC I think is a good result, for me and the team, and this is the first time I experience being the leader for the GC.  I think this was a good starting point, and now I hope to progress next time. A big thanks to my teammates, I felt the sensation that they respect me, and this for a rider is very important. They gave the maximum for me…” 


Felline paused, then replied with two words that described the team’s week of racing perfectly.


He smiled. “All positive.”



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