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Van Avermaet’s second place in the Eneco Tour lifted him from 17th to seventh in the individual rankings and he now has a total of 292 points

Photo: Sirotti

BENELUX TOUR

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GREG VAN AVERMAET

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TIM WELLENS

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17.08.2015 @ 07:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Belgium’s Tim Wellens confirmed his credentials as a talented stage race rider with a second consecutive overall victory at the Eneco Tour. Wellens scored 100 points for his overall success in the weeklong and so rose to 35th place in the individual UCI WorldTour rankings. His victory also lifted his Lotto Soudal team to 11th place in the UCI WorldTour team ranking.

Wellens set up his overall victory with a consistent performance in the early flat stages of the Eneco Tour dominated by sprinters Elia Viviani (Team Sky), Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep). He limited his losses to his overall rivals in the 14km individual time trial stage around Hoogerheide and then won the hilly sixth stage to Houffalize in the Ardennes hills with a solo attack to take the leader’s jersey and open an advantage of over a minute. 

His Lotto Soudal team then controlled the peloton on the final stage to Geraardsbergen that covered several cobbled Flemish climbs to ensure Wellens completed a second consecutive overall victory at the Eneco Tour. Wellens finished 59 seconds ahead of fellow Belgian Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in the final overall classification, with Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) third at 1:17. 

The Eneco Tour is only Wellens fourth career victory but he has shown his potential in hilly one-day races and stage races by finishing fourth in the 2014 Il Lombardia and second on two tough stages of the 2014 Giro d’Italia. This year he rode the Tour de France for the first time in his career, helping Greipel to win four stages during the biggest Grand Tour of the season. The 24 year-old Belgian made a point of waiting for all his teammates to finish the final stage of the Eneco Tour and thanked them one by one.

“I’m very, very happy to have won. This is a WorldTour stage race.” Wellens said with pride.

 

“I’ve won for a second year in a row. Last year I was a little unsure of my form because I’d been a bit ill. This year I was not really on super form but from the individual time trial everything went as it should, and it was a real pleasure to race with good legs. This is a very big win and that allows me to be extremely satisfied.

 

"You're never really sure of the victory until you cross the final finish line. I was quite scared of Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert. If they’d attacked I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to follow them. Things like that go through your head when you are so close to victory. Of course I knew I could always rely on my teammates and without them I wouldn’t have accomplish this.”

 

Wellens scored 100 points for his overall victory and a further seven points for his stage victory. He jumped from 121st to 35th in the individual UCI WorldTour rankings and now has a total of 115 points. 

Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) remains the leader of the individual UCI WorldTour rankings. He did not compete at the Eneco Tour but will be in action at the Vuelta a Espana Grand Tour that begins on August 22. His successful season has seen him score 532 points, putting him on course for yet another victory in the final 2015 UCI WorldTour rankings. 

Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) is still second in the individual rankings with 422 points, while Giro d’Italia winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) remains third with 407 points. Van Avermaet’s second place in the Eneco Tour lifted him from 17th to seventh in the individual rankings and he now has a total of 292 points.

Team Sky continues to dominate the UCI WorldTour team ranking. The British squad now has a total of 1246 points. Movistar is a close second with 1242 points and Team Katusha is third with 1130 points. Spain dominates the nations ranking with 1582 points.

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