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Tour de Wallonie

Girmay sprints to second in Rochefort

Biniam Girmay returned into competition and is back on the podium at the end of the third stage of the Tour de Wallonie, which ended in a sprint in Rochefort. Before enabling the 22 year old to sprint for the victory, the World Team distinguished itself in a very animated beginning of the race. The riders followed the moves and Loïc Vliegen and Lorenzo Rota took first and second place at the intermediate sprint in Olne after 21 kilometer.

After more than two hours of attacking a breakaway of seven riders was formed. This group was caught with 20 kilometer to go and all late attacks were made undone before the arrival in Rochefort. The first rider to start the sprint, Girmay, was only overtaken by Arnaud De Lie and thus finished second. 

It is the second consecutive podium for the Walloon team. Thanks to the precious bonus seconds won in the intermediate sprint and gaps in the final sprint, Loïc Vliegen climbs to second place in the general classification, 4 seconds behind the leader. Lorenzo Rota is fourth, 8 seconds behind the race leader.

« It was a hard day because there were many attacks in the beginning of the race. I tried several times myself to accompany accelerations of strong riders. Finally, after 80 kilometer of racing, the breakaway got away and there was control in the peloton behind. While Dimitri Claeys worked hard in the lead of the bunch to reduce the gap with the escapees, we stayed together to protect our GC leaders Lorenzo Rota and Loïc Vliegen. We then focused on the sprint. Jan Bakelants guided me towards the final 5 kilometer, after which Loïc brought me to a good position under the red flag. I launched my sprint 300 meter before the finish line and I lost a bit of speed in the corner, enabling Arnaud De Lie to pass me. It was probably too early, but I can be satisfied with this second place. I want to reward the team with a victory, so I’m looking forward to the next two opportunities. »


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