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Tour de Wallonie

Teamwork & panache could not avoid the sprint

The riders left Neufchâteau (Luxembourg), at the start of stage 4 of the Tour de Wallonie, for a 200 km crossing towards Fleurus (Hainaut). Quinten Hermans, wearing the pink jersey as leader of the intermediate sprints, departed for the longest stage in sixth place overall.

Despite the climbs of the Saut des Sorcières, the Col du Sati and the Côte d’Orchimont included in the first 40 kilometers, no breakaway managed to extricate itself from the peloton. The riders then entered the province of Namur, and it was shortly after the intermediate sprint in Gedinne, at kilometer 70, that Baptiste Planckaert and De Marchi (Israel) were able to create a gap and leave the peloton for good.

In the summer heat, the pair kept opened the road for much of the day, taking advantage of a 6-minute lead. Planckaert, escaped for the second time in this Tour de Wallonie, crossed the top of the Côte d’Agimont first, a little less than 100 kilometers from the finish, just before the gap began to melt away following the change of pace of the peloton.

Shortly after the Côte de Soulme, exactly 80 kilometers from the end, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert engaged in a collective counterattack in an attempt to overturn the established order. Quinten Hermans, Loïc Vliegen and Andrea Pasqualon led a group of 15 riders which quickly made the junction on the leading duo. With Planckaert joining, four representatives of the team led by Valerio Piva and Jean-Marc Rossignon took charge of the front of the race, creating panic in the peloton.

The alliance of several teams trapped by the maneuver, however, allowed things to come back together 60 kilometers from the end. The race situation changed once again when Vliegen, winner of the race in 2019, made his move with 6 other riders before the first passage of the Côte du Petit Try. Despite their good cooperation, the men were caught as well 18 kilometers from the finish.

Despite a final acceleration in the second passage of the Côte du Petit Try, located 10 kilometers from the finish, the stage victory came down to a sprint between about fifty men. Groenewegen (Jumbo) won, while Quinten Hermans took 15th place. Hermans also remains 6th in GC, on the eve of the closing stage towards Quaregnon. 


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