Valencia: Stage to Vandenbergh


The final stage for the Comunitat Valenciana was won by Stijn Vandenbergh whilst Team Sky’s Wouter Poels won the overall

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Valencia: Stage to Vandenbergh

Brilliant win for Vandenbergh in Valenciana last day - A gutsy attack and an all-in effort brought the Belgian his first victory in almost 9 years


PHOTOS: © Tim De Waele

With around 15 kilometres left of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana’s final stage, just as the peloton got accustomed to the urban circuit in Valencia, Stijn Vandenbergh decided to make his move and leave the pack together with Mirco Maestri (Bardiani).

Not many would have credited them with a real chance of giving the sprinters the slip on such a flat course, but in no time the gap between the two and the chasers hit the 30-second mark, and that made Stijn believe he could go all the way.

As soon as he crossed the line at the end of the 3rd (out of 6) laps of the day, the Etixx – Quick-Step rider powered away from his Italian companion and went solo, still having half a minute in hand. But the real action of the day was yet to begin, being triggered minutes later, when a plastic bag got stuck in the back wheel of Stijn Vandenbergh’s bike and his advantage began to drop.

Despite this, he didn’t give up and put in a monumental effort, which helped him enter on the final lap with a gap that hovered between 15 and 20 seconds over the peloton led by Cofidis and Katusha.


PHOTOS: © Tim De Waele

A man of all seasons, capable to take matters into his own hands when he senses an opportunity, the 31-year-old rode hard in those endless final two kilometers, managed to hold off the bunch and crossed the line victorious, upsetting the sprinters and notching the team’s 8th win of 2016, and the 5th of the week, one which proved to be more than great for Etixx – Quick-Step, in both the Dubai Tour and Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

“I came in good shape here, felt really strong, and when we entered on the circuit I said to myself that I have nothing to lose if I give it a shot. I tried not to think of the peloton, to go full gas, and in the end it all paid off.”

“It’s really nice to win and to get more confidence ahead of the spring, especially as it has been quite a long time since my previous success”, said Stijn Vandenbergh, an ever-loyal team rider, who scored his first victory in almost 9 years, the previous one being recorded at the 2007 Tour of Ireland, where he came at the top of the overall standings.


Meanwhile, Team Sky’s Wout Poels clinched the overall victory at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana with a safe passage through the final stage. With a 46-second advantage, the Dutchman just had to cross the line without issue on the streets of Valencia to be assured of victory as the bunch contested the final test.

Leading the revamped event from day 1, Poels rocketed into an early lead with victory in the opening time trial, and extended that advantage in style on Saturday’s queen stage with another stage win.

That show of strength also enabled Poels to wrap up the points, mountains and combination jerseys, while Team Sky also placed more riders in prominent positions on the general classification – claiming the team prize in the process.

In his stage race debut for the team Benat Intxausti secured third place overall, 56 seconds back on Poels, with Leopold Konig also taking 10th position overall at 1:50 back. Victory for Poels wrapped up an impressive 24 hours for the team, with Chris Froome also taking the yellow jersey thousands of miles away at the Herald Sun Tour.

Sport Director Dario Cioni was full of praise for the way the riders approached the race. “The race showed that Wout was the strongest rider – but also the team on the whole showed that they could control every stage,” said the Italian. “The new guys fitted in really well. Alex (Peters) did a superb job. He found some support from Nico and Kiry who gave him some advice to help him.”

“He’s shown he’s a really intelligent rider and he can be really strong – even today at the end of the race he was up there no problem. It actually looked like he was getting stronger and stronger in the race so he’s showing great potential for the future.”


1 Stijn Vandenbergh, Etixx-QuickStep 2:12:25
2 Dylan Groenewegen, Team LottoNL-Jumbo
3 Raymond Kreder, Roompot-Oranje Peloton
4 Nacer Bouhanni, Cofidis, Solutions Credit
5 Jonas Vangenechten, IAM Cycling
6 Alexander Porsev, Team Katusha
7 Sonny Colbrelli, Bardiani CSF
8 Matti Breschel, Cannondale Pro Cycling
9 Nicola Ruffoni, Bardiani CSF
10 Eduard Prades, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA

16 Alex Peters, Team Sky
22 Tom Boonen, Etixx-QuickStep
38 Adria Moreno, Spain
42 Niki Terpstra, Etixx-QuickStep
43 Luis Leon Sanchez, Astana
83 Leopold Konig, Team Sky
95 Nicolas Roche, Team Sky
120 Fabio Aru, Astana
145 Sebastia Mora, Spain 03:00

1 Wouter Poels, Team Sky 14:15:51
2 Luis Leon Sanchez, Astana 0:00:46
3 Benat Intxausti, Team Sky 0:00:56
4 Jon Izaguirre, Movistar Team 0:01:01
5 Javier Moreno, Movistar Team 0:01:10
6 Fabio Aru, Astana 0:01:26
7 Diego Rosa,Astana 0:01:27
8 Jesus Herrada, Movistar Team 0:01:31
9 Daniel Navarro, Cofidis, Solutions Credit 0:01:34
10 Leopold Konig, Team Sky 0:01:50

13 Daniel Martin, Etixx-QuickStep 0:02:00
22 Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha 0:03:07
42 Johnny Hoogerland, Roompot-Oranje Peloton 0:05:03
61 Adria Moreno, Spain, Raleigh GAC
101 Niki Terpstra, Etixx-QuickStep 0:18:48
108 Tom Boonen, Etixx-QuickStep 0:19:58
109 Sebastia Mora, Spain Raleigh GAC 0:20:05
138 Alex Peters, Team Sky 0:24:37
140 Nicolas Roche,Team Sky 0:25:14

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