Eneco Tour: Tim Wellens captures stage six victory and race lead
Last Updated: 16/08/14 5:12pm
Tim Wellens pulled off an audacious solo victory on stage six at the Eneco Tour to move into the race lead.
The main contenders could only look on as the Lotto Belisol rider headed up the road in the closing stages to win the stage by 50 seconds and wipe out his deficit to the race leaders.
An elite front group was gradually whittled down in Belgium over a gruelling parcours and Wellens took full advantage of the tired legs around him, heading up the road. A late chase from Lars Boom (Belkin) was unable to claw back enough time, handing Wellens a seven second overall advantage on Boom and 13 over outgoing leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano).
Team Sky's Geraint Thomas came home fifh on the stage and now sits 38 seconds back going into the final day, dropping a place to sixth after Wellens elevated himself 15 positions during a spectacular finish.
There were attacks everywhere in the closing stages with bonus seconds on the line and a close general classification. Thomas launched a brief acceleration of his own with 13.5km to go as the race headed for its finish in Aywaille on the iconic Cote de la Redoute.
After Friday’s stage in Tour of Flanders country the race moved on to terrain synonymous with Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
The 173.9km epic kicked off in Heerlen and a strong eight-man break including Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Alex Dowsett (Movistar) went away and carved out an advantage of around eight minutes.
Of that move it was Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) who forged ahead onto the final lap but was hunted down with 15km to go. By that time the lead group had thinned out significantly and the pressure was on Dumoulin, who came into the stage with a slender two-second lead to defend.
A flurry of attacks were all shut down on the undulating run for home but it was Wellens who slipped the net and pulled off a memorable win.
Stage six result
1 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol, 4:28:19
2 Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin, +50
3 Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, +52
4 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano, same time
5 Geraint Thomas (Gbr) Team Sky, +56
6 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana, +58
7 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol, +59
8 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing, st
10 Marco Marcato (Ita) Cannondale, st
1 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol, 21:03:27
2 Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin, +7
3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano, +13
4 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana, +33
5 Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, +34
6 Geraint Thomas (Gbr) Team Sky, +38
7 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +45
8 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing, +48
9 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge, +56
10 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge, +1:04