Tim Wellens managed to win the sixth stage in the Giro d’Italia, his first victory in a Grand Tour. The speed was very high right from the beginning of the stage, three riders set up a break after about twenty kilometres. In the descent of the first climb of the day, the pace increased in the peloton and therefore the lead of the escapees went down really fast. At 70 kilometres from the finish, Pim Ligthart, Tim Wellens and Laurent Didier accelerated in the peloton. The three attackers bridged the gap to Zhupa and Bisolti, the two remaining escapees. The advantage of the five leaders increased steadily and they got a maximum lead of almost nine minutes.
At fifteen kilometres from the finish, Tim Wellens attacked in the front group. Pim Ligthart, who did a great effort to maintain the lead, was already dropped at that moment. The chasers tried to bridge the gap to Wellens, but he gave a strong impression. In the meantime a few attempts were made in the GC group. Tim Wellens wasn’t threatened anymore and the young Belgian won the stage in an impressive way. It’s the second victory in a row for Lotto Soudal in this Giro. At the end, Tom Dumoulin put pressure on his competitors and therefore he extends his lead on GC.
Tim Wellens: “Yesterday, the team delivered a great performance to lead André Greipel to the victory. That’s why we said before this stage that several riders could take it easy today. I suggested that I would join a break if the circumstances would allow that. Three riders had gone clear from the peloton and in the descent two riders stayed in front. Together with Pim Ligthart and with the approval of Tom Dumoulin I decided to bridge the gap to the two leaders; Laurent Didier joined us. We were able to close that gap quickly. There wasn’t immediately a reaction in the peloton and the front group worked well together so our lead increased. Pim really did a great job today and he totally sacrificed himself to enlarge the gap.”
“Lampre-Merida and Orica-GreenEdge pulled at the front of the peloton for a while, but yet we were able to start the final climb with a comfortable lead. I didn’t know for sure whether I had the best legs in the front group or not, but I did know that the difference had to be made on the steepest part of the climb, which was situated in the beginning. I accelerated at fifteen kilometres from the finish after Didier tried to get away. After that, the most important thing was to maintain the pace. There were a few attempts in the peloton but they were unable to close the gap. In that way I managed to stay ahead.”
“This victory is fantastic of course. Our goal in this Giro was to obtain a stage win. Yesterday our efforts paid off in an impressive way with André. It would be amazing if I were able to win a stage myself and to do that in such way, is just incredible. I don’t win a lot of races, but I think that my victories can count. Tomorrow, we will again try to go for the sprint with André. We’ll see if there will be any opportunities for me during the coming two weeks.”
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