Report – Paris-Tours win for Wallays


Four years after triumphing in the Under 23 class, Belgian Jelle Wallays captured the big one, claiming the classic Paris Tours in fine fashion

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Report – Paris-Tours win for Wallays

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Four years after triumphing in the Under 23 class, Jelle Wallays captured the big one, claiming Paris Tours in fine fashion. Part of a seven-man breakaway group, the Belgian was with Thomas Voeckler, the last to stay clear of the peloton. He then went on to show that youth could pay off against the experience of his French rival. Already a winner of stage 1 of the 2013 World Ports Classic, Wallays captures the most prestigious victory of his career.


Photo: ASO/B.Bade

Under a cloudy sky, the 159 riders of Paris-Tours started from the charming common of Bonneval for a long and demanding day on the 237.5kms course. After four kilometres, five men managed to break away: Voeckler (EUR), Wallays (TSV), Van Melsen (WGG), Benedetti (TNE) and Paillot (LPM).

Their lead grew rapidly and reached 4’25 at km 7 while two riders were fighting their way to the front: Gouault (BIG) and Duval (RLM). After enjoying a maximum lead of 7’ at km 14, the leading group slowed down to wait for the two counter-attackers. Eventually seven men gathered together at the front at km 20.

FDJ and Giant-Shimano chasing
Under the influence of teams and Giant-Shimano, the gap started dropping. At km 54, the leaders however still had a 5’35 advantage. That gap dropped down as the peloton marched on helped out by a fairly strong tailwind. At the feeding zone (km 117), it had gone down to 3’30 and then 2’25 at km 166.


Photo: ASO/B.Bade

At km 175, two riders gave it a go on a counter-attack: Ligthart (LTB) and Tjallinghi (BEL). While the peloton remained 2’30 adrift, they moved slightly closer, at 1’45, never however managing to catch up with the escapees. They were eventually caught shortly later.

At km 204, two other men tried their luck, taking off from the pack: Koretzky (BSE) and Engoulvent (EUR) but their efforts also proved to be vain. While Benedetti had been dropped due to a puncture, six riders remained in the lead, enjoying a 1’40 advantage with 25 kms to go.

Battle royale
A first decisive move occurred just a kilometre later when Voeckler, Wallays and Van Melsen powered away. The three leaders could still count on a 1’20 gap with 20kms to go, and then 1’10, 15kms from the line on a group of favorites including Degenkolb (GIA), Van Avermaet (BMC) and Vanmarcke (BEL).

With 10 kilometers to go, Wallays and Voeckler made the best of the climb up the Côte de Beau Soleil to drop Van Melsen. While the peloton bunched up together again behind them, the duo kept a decent 42″ lead with 4kms to go. Enough to start considering the win.


Photo: ASO/B.Bade

And indeed they would never be caught. Despite his experience in major events, Voeckler couldn’t do much in the closing moments against Wallays. The Belgian captured his most prestigious victory, outsprinting Voeckler while another Belgian, Debusschere (LTB) fastest of the peloton, clinched third spot.

1. Wallays Jelle, Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise 5:26:18
2. Voeckler Thomas, Team Europcar
3. Debusschere Jens, Lotto Belisol 0:12
4. Jans Roy, Wanty – Groupe Gobert
5. Haussler Heinrich, IAM Cycling
6. Drucker Jean-Pierre, Wanty – Groupe Gobert
7. Sbaragli Kristian, MTN – Qhubeka
8. Perichon Pierre-Luc, Bretagne РS̩ch̩ Environnement
9. Levarlet Guillaume, Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
10. van Emden Jos, Belkin-Pro Cycling Team

31. Chavanel Sylvain, IAM Cycling
39. Van Avermaet Greg, BMC Racing Team
42. Démare Arnaud, 0:39
121. Bauer Jack, Garmin Sharp

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