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"In the youth ranks, Kelderman was not better than me and Aru could only beat me in the Tour of Tuscany because I punctured at a time when I was the virtual leader," Wellens says

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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TIM WELLENS

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05.06.2014 @ 12:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tim Wellens had a fantastic grand tour debut at the recent Giro d'Italia but despite his two second places, he was overshadowed by his peers Wilco Kelderman and Fabio Aru. Claiming that the pair were not stronger than him when they competed in the youth ranks, the Belgian is a bit frustrated not to be able to match their results.

 

In his second full season as a professional, Tim Wellens got his first taste of grand tour racing when he lined up in the recent Giro d'Italia. The Belgian did an excellent and aggressive race and was rewarded for his offensive spirit by taking two second places.

 

While Wellens mixed it up in breakaways, Wilco Kelderman and Fabio Aru who are of the same age, were involved in the battle for the top positions on GC and that has left the Belgian slightly frustrated. Having competed against the pair since his time in the youth ranks, he believes that he is able to perform at their level

 

"I am super happy for Aru and Kelderman who are from my generation, but in the youth ranks they were not better than me," he told Het Nieuwsblad.

 

"In the youth ranks, Kelderman was not better than me and Aru could only beat me in the Tour of Tuscany because I punctured at a time when I was the virtual leader.

 

"Sometimes I wonder why they are doing so well and I am not. But I know the reason. My body still isn't mature. They were bigger and stronger, I was small and skinny. It also proves that I still have roome for improvement. It is only difficult to predict how much room I have. But then I think: I can do what Aru and Kelderman can.

 

"I am not going to claim that I will be in the top 5 in last year's Giro though. After the classics, I dare to say that I come back to win those races but you won't hear me saying that about the Giro. I am part of a golden generation with Aru, Kelderman, even Quintana. We will keep riding against each other."

 

Despite his fustration, he is pleased with his debut.

 

"I am satisfied with my Giro debut," he said. "But I was too good at the start because I had also been aiming at the classics. In those races I was better than I was in the Giro after the first week. At that point I could almost not feel my pedals but the scond week was hard. In the third week I got better again.

 

"What I am most proud of? My two runner-up spots even though Maxime Monfort regards my 9th in the mountain time trial as an even better result."

 

Going into the race, Wellens had no focus on the GC but after a great first week, he considered changing his mind.

 

"After the first week I was ninth," he said. "Then I planned to see what I could do. In the first mountain stage, however, I finished in the last group. I can ride super well on climbs of 5-6km but the really long ones are too much for me."

 

Wellens recently extended his contract with Lotto Belisol and will stay with the Belgian team until the end of the 2015 season.

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