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Tour de Wallonie

Loïc Vliegen (2nd) close to succes in front of his home crowd

Local rider Loïc Vliegen was almost successful in front of his home crowd in Herve this Sunday, on the occasion of the second stage or the queen stage of the Tour de Wallonie.

Not less than seven categorized climbs had to be covered after the start in Verviers, among which the famous Côte de La Redoute, cumulating 2900 meter of climbing.

It was from this hill, situated 56 kilometer before the finish, that the Walloon World Team decided to make the race hard. Lorenzo Rota took command of the peloton and then managed to bridge to the two survivors of the early breakaway in a group of around fifteen riders with Vliegen.

This group was definitively out of sight for the peloton and battled for the victory. After a counterattack in the final 2 kilometer, Loïc Vliegen crossed the line one second behind Lazkano, who escaped before him.

Lorenzo Rota finished sixth and climbs to third place in the general classification, just ahead of his teammate Vliegen who is now fourth. Both men are respectively 10 and 11 seconds behind the new leader Stannard.

I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, it’s always special to race on training roads. Things were looking good for our team on the Côte de Cornesse, with around 37 kilometer to go, when I saw the leader Julian Alaphilippe in difficulty, among others. My feeling was good and also Lorenzo Rota showed that he was among the strongest riders. There were several attacks in the final and Lazkano managed to create a 20 second gap after an attack on the flat. Thanks to my course knowledge, I knew that it would be a headwind on the Côte de José, the last uncategorized climb with 3 kilometer to go. So I waited until just before the top to start my final effort. I quickly came closer to the leader, but he had enough left in the legs to resist in the final straight. It was of course a big disappointment to miss the victory at 300 meter of the place I grew up and in front of my home crowd. But there are still three stages and the same number of opportunities for our team. Thanks to our strong collective performances, Lorenzo and I are in a favorable position in the general classification. 


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