After being billed as a day for the sprinters, VOO Tour de Wallonie stage 4 didn’t disappoint with Jempy Drucker securing BMC Racing Team’s second consecutive stage win after a fast and furious finish while Dylan Teuns crossed the line safely to head into tomorrow’s final stage wearing the leader’s yellow jersey.
For the first time this week, a breakaway formed early on stage 4 with five riders going clear and extending an advantage of over three minutes after less than 10km of racing.
With no-one threatening the overall race lead of Teuns, BMC Racing Team sat comfortably at the front of the peloton as the leaders gained more than 5’30” over the rest of the field in the first hour of racing.
Approaching the 100km to go mark, the gap began to fall steadily with teams increasing the pace to bring the race back together and set the stage for the previously predicted bunch sprint.
Just under two minutes stood between the breakaway and the peloton with 50km, of the 164.1km course, remaining and the final rider was eventually caught with 9km to go on the finishing circuit around Profondeville.
Almost immediately, four riders flew off the front of the bunch, but BMC Racing Team took control with the peloton strung out in single file behind them as they brought the race back together again inside the closing 5km of the day.
The battle for position could then begin and Loïc Vliegen kept Drucker neatly in his wheel going under the flamme rouge. However, with no clear lead-out trains formed, it was every rider for himself when the final sprint was launched 500m from the line.
Drucker timed his sprint to perfection and looked powerful as he moved through the bunch with ease before throwing his bike over the line to secure the stage win.
After being protected by his BMC Racing Team teammates all day, Teuns safely negotiated a hectic finale to maintain his overall lead heading into tomorrow’s fifth and final stage.
The Winner’s Interview with Jempy Drucker
Congratulations, Jempy. Talk us through today’s sprint.
“It was a bit strange actually as it was all flat. On stage 2, I made the mistake of waiting too long but today, I was on the right wheels and I had the right line to be able to take the win so I am happy.”
It was an incredibly close finish. Were you aware of that as you crossed the line?
“It was a really tight finish and on the line, I actually couldn’t tell if I had won. It was only when I heard it in my ear piece that I knew.”
And looking ahead to tomorrow’s final stage.
“The most important thing for us is that Dylan Teuns is still in the yellow jersey so today was a perfect day for BMC Racing Team. It was a good effort from all of the guys and there is a great spirit in the team so we will work hard to defend the jersey for one more day.”
Quotes From the Finish Line
“There was one rider in the late attack who was dangerous in terms of the GC but the team reacted quickly and closed the gap. Not only was this good for me but it was also good for Jempy Drucker’s sprint. I was always with the team when we had to chase and then when the movement started for the sprint I tried to keep a good position in the first twenty riders and moved through the bunch as safely as possible.”
“Tomorrow is another race day and I’m sure that the other guys in contention for the General Classification will be fighting. Today we didn’t have to do too much work and I think this will be good for us tomorrow and I am sure that the team will be ready to fight with me for the jersey.”