Dylan Teuns proved that attack is sometimes the best form of defense in Belgium today after powering away from the rest of the field to take a solo stage win on VOO Tour de Wallonie stage 3, consolidating his overall race lead in the process.
It was another battle to make the breakaway stick on stage 3 with the BMC Racing Team-led peloton covering over 40km, of the 182.7km course, before giving seven riders the freedom to go clear at the front of the race.
The leaders’ advantage continued to rise steadily over the first half of stage before it stabilized at 3’50” with less than 80km to go.
With the yellow jersey on the shoulders of Teuns, BMC Racing Team continued to set the tempo at the front of the bunch before starting to put pressure on the breakaway.
The chase quickly began to heat up, with four of the day’s six categorized climbs coming inside the final 50km, and the fierce pace being set by Francisco Ventoso and Nathan Van Hooydonck saw riders dropping off the back of the main field.
As the race hit the slopes of the short but steep category one climb, the Mur Saint-Roch, for the first of two ascents, the peloton had brought the two remaining breakaway riders to within one minute.
Inside 10km to go, Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) made a final bid for glory and was holding onto a minute’s advantage as a sense of urgency swept over the reduced bunch with teams vying for the stage win.
With the race back together on the second ascent of the relentless climb to the finish line, which featured an average gradient of 10.7%, an impressive attack from Teuns saw him power away from the rest of the field.
Gritting his teeth, Teuns continued to push hard all the way to the line before punching the air with delight as he secured the stage win and extended his overall race lead.
Teuns now leads the General Classification with an advantage of 32 seconds as the race heads into tomorrow’s penultimate stage
The Winner’s Interview with Dylan Teuns
Congratulations, Dylan. How are you feeling after today’s stage win?
“First of all, I would like to thank my BMC Racing Team teammates. They did a great job today and controlled the race. I said to them this morning that today was the main GC day and that my best chance was to ride for the victory. That’s exactly what the team did, and all I had to do was finish it off in the closing meters of the race.”
“At one point, with around 40km to go, I think, I had a flat and I had to make my way back into the peloton. It was not a good moment, but at the end, it wasn’t too much of a problem.”
We saw you launch an impressive attack on the final climb. What were you thinking in that moment?
“Yeah, I was just feeling really good and I knew that I needed to attack there if I wanted to win. I have been feeling strong in my last few races and especially at GP Pino Cerami and also the first two stages here. It is good for me that I can show something after my good result at Flèche Wallone at the beginning of the year. My spring was really good, and now I have another good result here which is really positive for me.”
Quotes From the Finish Line
Sports Director, Marco Pinotti:
“There were a few moments in today’s race when the guys really had to take control of the race. After less than one hour, there was a 15-rider breakaway that included the rider who was previously sitting on the same time as Dylan Teuns on the General Classification. We then had to chase the group down before the seven-rider breakaway finally went. But, Dylan was motivated to take today’s stage win and also the bonus seconds for the GC so, we kept control of the race. We used Miles Scotson and Nathan Van Hooydonck in the first part of the race, and they did a really great job, pulling for longer than we expected. Everybody did a really good job today, and Dylan finished it off perfectly.”
“We took responsibility yesterday to control the race because we were targeting the General Classification and I think we can continue to do this. While the next two stages are easier on paper, the racing can be a little unpredictable here especially with the weather. But, we are confident in Dylan and Dylan is confident in his team, so we will continue to work hard for the overall win.”