News: Tour de Wallonie Finale

Arnaud Démare wins the final stage and the overall for the Tour de Wallonie after an action packed final stage

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News: Tour de Wallonie Finale

Starting the last racing day as the overall leader, Arnaud Démare had a lot to do on yet another very tough course. But with the remarkable help of his teammates, the French sprinter not only managed to keep the first place overall, and therefore to win the race, but also to take a superb bonus with the stage victory. Arnaud Démare now records four victories since the season restart, but more than ever, the teamwork will also be remembered.

The start of stage 4 proved to be difficult as two climbs and two intermediate sprints were listed in the first fifty kilometers. As a consequence, there was a fight from the start and some GC contenders such as Greg van Avermaet or Jhonatan Narvaez took the opportunity to grab a few seconds. After the first quarter of the race, a breakaway of seven riders was allowed to go and CCC and AG2R-La Mondiale took control in the bunch while Groupama-FDJ would just remain careful.

Including some strong guys such as Zdenek Stybar, the breakaway did not get more than a 3-minute gap on the bunch, which then gradually took some time back in the second part of the stage. At the first time over the Côte de Beffe (1.6km at 8.7%), the breakaway was only a minute ahead as the selection initiated in the bunch. On this first lap, Arnaud Démare and most of his teammates were able to recon ​​the final which was going to decide the race’s outcome.

The main peloton then rode to quite a high pace towards the second and final time of the Côte de Beffe, located 10 kilometers from the finish. Like the day before, the Groupama-FDJ team managed positioning perfectly, bringing Arnaud Démare up in front at the bottom of the last climb. On the tougher slopes, the yellow jersey logically dropped back a little, but he never cracked and was still surrounded by Lars van den Berg and Ignatas Konovalovas, while Kevin Geniets would go with the stronger ones a hundred meters ahead.

With 8 kilometers to go, Narvaez went solo in the lead while his rivals looked at each other, allowing several guys to return from the back. Among them, Arnaud Démare and his two teammates. Groupama-FDJ then led a strong chase. After the final turns from Lars van den Berg and Kevin Geniets, the Frenchman prepared for a hard sprint in these last hundred meters averaging 4-5%.
Initially overtaken by Philippe Gilbert on his left, the Milan-Turin winner got the better of the former world champion in the last 50 meters.

If the general classification success was his primary goal, Arnaud Démare eventually took a nice bonus with the stage. With this Tour de Wallonie 2020, Arnaud Démare got the sixth GC of his career. With four successes since the season restart, Arnaud Démare might be the big favourite for the French championship on Sunday. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot since they changed the course, which is less difficult than expected,” concluded the former French Champion. “With my form and considering the courses I’m able to get over right now, I really believe in my chances”.

Arnaud Démare: “The mission will be difficult” Arnaud Démare had said after taking the yellow jersey in the Tour de Wallonie on Tuesday. “It was a strong start”, said Arnaud about stage 4. “I then thought it was going to be a very complicated day, but it then calmed down a bit”. “You had to be strong not to be too far from the best at the top of the climb, and more so to be able to get back on the breakaway.”

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“The strategy that we set up today was followed and worked out, so all the better. Like yesterday, I still had three teammates with me in a group of 30-40 riders,” continued Arnaud. “It was great. I really could count on them. They chased really hard to catch the leading man in the last kilometre. I was worn out, he said. I wasn’t really thinking of winning. I was really thinking not to take a split on Van Avermaet, who was right behind me. That’s why I started the sprint.”

“With the legs I have right now, I’m not setting myself any limits” added Arnaud Démare. “It’s amazing. Even more with the very strong team I have around me. I wouldn’t have thought I could win the overall at the start of the week given the course, but the team is very strong. After winning the second stage, we didn’t refrain ourselves from anything. With the time bonuses, we also had a little advantage today. The course was also made for me these last two days with a few kilometers after the climbs to try to come back”.

Greg Van Avermaet: “I think it was a good stage and the team rode really well. I had great support all day and I hoped to finish it off but, in the end, it didn’t work out. I was a bit unlucky that I had to have a bike change and I spent some energy coming back from that and maybe I missed something in the sprint because of it. However, I did what I could and I think that was the most important. I gave everything and even though I didn’t win, which was the goal, we ended up second on the GC and third on the stage so it is something positive. I am quite happy with this and with the work the team did, we worked well together.”

“I think it was a good choice to race here instead of the Dauphiné for example because I think that was too hard for me before the Tour. Now I have some time to freshen up the legs again before the European Championships and the Tour de France, which will be super hard. Plus there is still a big season after that with some important Classics that I want to be good so it was important to manage the lead up well and I am really happy with the form I have now”

1. Arnaud Démare Groupama-FDJ 04:51:33
2. Philippe Gilbert Lotto Soudal
3. Greg Van Avermaet CCC Team
4. Clément Venturini AG2R La Mondiale
5. Jasper De Buyst Lotto Soudal
6. Amaury Capiot Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Florian Sénéchal Deceuninck-Quick Step
8. Andrea Vendrame AG2R La Mondiale
9. Romain Hardy Team Arkea-Samsic @ 04
10. Bryan Coquard B&B Hotels-Vital Concept

58. Sam Bennett Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 02:24
61. Caleb Ewan Lotto Soudal @ 03:22
64. Luke Rowe Team Ineos @ 03:48
72. Scott Thwaites Alpecin-Fenix @ 04:08
73. Alexandar Richardson Alpecin-Fenix @ 04:08
109. Daniel McLay Team Arkea-Samsic @ 09:55
115. Mark Cavendish Bahrain-McLaren @ 13:40

1. Arnaud Démare Groupama-FDJ 17:48:51
2. Greg Van Avermaet CCC Team @ 20
3. Amaury Capiot Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise @ 25
4. Florian Sénéchal Deceuninck-Quick Step @ 26
5. Clément Venturini AG2R La Mondiale @ 27
6. Andrea Vendrame AG2R La Mondiale
7. Jasper De Buyst Lotto Soudal
8. Jhonnatan Narvaez Team Ineos @ 30
9. Romain Hardy Team Arkea-Samsic @ 31
10. Oliver Naesen AG2R La Mondiale @ 32

Full Result Here 


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