News: Stewart 4th in Etoile de Bessèges

Jake Stewart surprised himself with 4th overall in a star studded Etoile de Bessèges after finishing 10th in the crucial final stage time trial; Ganna won his second stage and Wellens the overall

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News: Stewart 4th in Etoile de Bessèges

Jake Stewart time trialed his way to 4th place overall in the final day of the Etoile de Bessèges. Photo: Getty Images

Lotto Soudal’s Tim Wellens was the overall winner of the Etoile de Bessèges on Sunday. The Belgian rider finished fourth in the time trial which surprised to him. “I had very good legs today. I felt a bit pressure, but I kicked more power than expected” Wellens said afterwards.

“It was nice to be able to start this time trial with a lead of more than 40 seconds, because you never know what will happen,” he says. “But I had a good feeling along the way and that allowed me to win the final classification. In the morning before I raced I already had a hunch that it would go well. I had therefore prepared well. ”

“Before the race, I told the team that the time trial was going to be very important. That’s why everyone did their best to help me as best they could during the last days. In the third stage, we were the only team with three riders on the attack. That was already a good sign, ”says Wellens. “It’s great to win so early in the season. Hopefully we can continue this.”

Tim Wellens. Photo: Getty Images

In the end Wellens won the final classification with 53 seconds advantage on Michal Kwiatkowski. Nils Politt secured third place on the final day, 59 seconds behind Wellens whilst for Britain, Jake Stewart was 4th and finished with a place on the podium with the Young rider’s jersey win.

“I wasn’t expecting this” said Jake Stewart on his team’s website. Already second in the Tour du Limousin last year, when he was part of the conti FDJ development team, Jake Stewart is quickly expanding his palmeres in cycling. “I continue to discover myself as a rider, and realise that perhaps everything is not limited to my sprinting”.

“I proved today that I can do a good time trial and stage race. Small stage races with time trials cannot therefore be ruled out. Maybe I’ll focus on that in the future. It’s a great result anyway, especially so early in the season, and it’s certainly not something I expected for this first year in the WorldTour. I can be very satisfied with this result and it is a good basis for the rest of the season ”.

Jake was not the only Brit to shine on the final stage. Ethan Hayter was third in the time trial, Owain Doull 8th and Connor Swift 13th. “I am satisfied with that ride” says Connor on his team’s website. “It was my first time trial of the season and this first effort is always difficult. My legs were good. I still had some strength over the last part of this time trial, which ended on the climb with steep percentages.”

“I had Flavien Soenen behind me in the car, the trainer in Team Arkéa-Samsic in charge of the time trial. He told me I was doing a good time. His directions were precise, motivating, and that pushed me even more. When climbing the final hill, the only tactic to adopt was to do it “full gas”, as they say, even if it was inevitably brutal.”

“I am satisfied with my time and my power data. It’s encouraging for the rest of the season because it shows my aptitude for this discipline. The time trial is really an event that I like. Seeing my name appear in the company of the chrono specialists at the end of this stage makes me satisfied, especially since I know that I can still improve “.

1. Filippo Ganna INEOS Grenadiers 15:00
2. Benjamin Thomas Groupama-FDJ @ 10
3. Ethan Hayter INEOS Grenadiers @ 21
4. Tim Wellens Leader jersey Lotto Soudal @ 29
5. Christophe Laporte Point jersey Cofidis @ 31
6. Michal Kwiatkowski INEOS Grenadiers @ 34
7. Alberto Bettiol EF Education-NIPPO @ 35
8. Owain Doull INEOS Grenadiers @ 38
9. Nils Politt BORA-hansgrohe @ 38
10. Jake Stewart Youth jersey Groupama-FDJ @ 41

13. Connor Swift Team Arkéa-Samsic @ 47
16. Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo @ 51
18. Vincenzo Nibali Trek-Segafredo @ 53
23. Geraint Thomas INEOS Grenadiers @ 58
29. Greg Van Avermaet AG2R Citroën Team @ 01:04
33. John Degenkolb Lotto Soudal @ 01:08
48. Ryan Mullen Trek-Segafredo @ 01:21
61. Daniel McLay Team Arkéa-Samsic @ 01:30
68. Philippe Gilbert Lotto Soudal @ 01:34

01 Tim Wellens Lotto Soudal 13:56:23
02 Michal Kwiatkowski INEOS Grenadiers @ 53
03 Nils Politt BORA-hansgrohe @ 59
04 Jake Stewart Groupama-FDJ @ 01:02
05 Mads Würtz Schmidt Israel Start-Up Nation @ 01:19
06 Michael Gogl Team Qhubeka ASSOS @ 01:24
07 Greg Van Avermaet AG2R Citroën Team @ 01:25
08 Edward Theuns Trek-Segafredo @ 01:36
09 Clément Carisey Delko @ 01:41
10 Odd Christian Eiking Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert @ 01:45

11 Philippe Gilbert Lotto Soudal @ 01:54
22 Connor Swift Team Arkéa-Samsic @ 04:06
25 Owain Doull INEOS Grenadiers @ 04:14
26 Vincenzo Nibali Trek-Segafredo @ 04:15
49 Geraint Thomas INEOS Grenadiers @ 05:06
89 Ryan Mullen Trek-Segafredo @ 22:26
100 Daniel McLay Team Arkéa-Samsic @ 23:52
120 Ethan Hayter INEOS Grenadiers @ 30:21

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