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"After the Vuelta al País Vasco I took a big step forward and I'm ready for races longer than 250 kilometers, that came in handy today. I might aim for the mountain's jersey in this Giro," Wellens says

Photo: Sirotti

GIRO D'ITALIA

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TIM WELLENS

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15.05.2014 @ 20:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) came of age when he finished second in today's tough Giro d'Italia stage. The young Belgian now sets his sights on the mountains jersey.

 

Tim Wellens finished second today in the sixth Giro stage, which had a summit finish. This morning the riders started in Sassano for a 257 kilometers long ride. The course got changed yesterday and ten kilometers were added, so this is now the longest stage of the Giro.

 

The battle for the stage win was decided on the final climb of second category at Montecassino. Pink jersey Michael Matthews won the sprint of four. 23-year-old Tim Wellens got second.


Four riders escaped from the peloton after nine kilometers: Bandiera, Fedi, Torres and Zardini. They stayed together the whole day and rode in pole position for 236 kilometers. Just before the peloton would start the climb to Montecassino there were a big amount of crashes on the wet road. The peloton got split and twelve riders got ahead, one of them was Tim Wellens.


The climb to Montecassino was 9.2 kilometers long with an average gradient of 5.1 %. There were peaks up to 10 %. By the end of the climb six riders were left in front: pink jersey Michael Matthews, Cadel Evans, his teammate Steve Morabito, Italian champion Ivan Santaromita, Matteo Rabottini and Tim Wellens.

 

Just before the one kilometer sign Evans attacked. Wellens followed smoothly, together with Matthews and Rabottini. Matthews had the fastest legs in theory and sprinted to the stage win. A strong Tim Wellens crossed the finish line as second. Evans got third.

 

Matthews of course hangs on to the leader's jersey. Wellens is now ninth in GC at 1'52".

 

Dehaes, Monfort and Van der Sande were all involved in the crash, but they seem to have no too many physical consequences of it. Monfort finished as 30th at 1'01". In GC he's 22nd at 2'48".


"Riders crashed just next to me in the run-up to the final climb," Wellens said. "I was very lucky. A bike hit me, but I could avoid crashing. The fact that I was in the front of the peloton does show I had good legs and those took me to the second place.

 

"When a gap was created riders of BMC and Orica-GreenEdge started to increase the pace. Nobody returned from behind and eventually we sprinted with four.


"I felt very good on the climb. For a moment I thought about attacking, but that wasn't a good idea and so I waited for the sprint. It was in Evans' interest to take as much time as possible, so his teammate Morabito set a high pace on the whole climb.

 

"Sports director Bart Leysen advised me to get out of the last corner as first, but that didn't succeed. Matthews is of course a fast guy, it's not a shame to lose from him in the sprint.

 

"It was a pretty long climb, but not so steep. We rode fast, almost more than thirty kilometers an hour! I felt very good today, the long distance didn't bother me. After the Vuelta al País Vasco I took a big step forward and I'm ready for races longer than 250 kilometers, that came in handy today. I might aim for the mountain's jersey in this Giro."

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