Truly miserable conditions characterised the sixth stage of the BinckBank Tour in Belgium today, relentless heavy rain and strong winds made for a hard race that resulted in an overall shake up and time losses for many teams including ORICA-SCOTT.
As many riders abandoned in the gruesome conditions, GC hopeful Jens Keukeleire did well to hold position behind the early breakaway over the 203kilometre stage through the wintry Ardennes.
The late and decisive attacks came with 30kilometres to go once the breakaway had been neutralised and the race favourites had formed the selection that sped away after the climb up the Cote de Saint Roche.
Keukeleire was alive to the initial move, but lost contact with the head of the race as the relentless attacks further split the contenders, forming three leading groups on the road.
Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) led with Tom Dumoulin (Team-Sunweb) and the pair created and held a healthy gap into the finish with Wellens taking the stage win and Dumoulin moving into the overall race lead with only tomorrow's final stage to come.
“That was a truly difficult day out there today,” said sport director Laurenzo Lapage. “A lot of guys were suffering and tested to the limit. We had raced well and our positioning was excellent up until the final attacks, Jens gave it everything he had, but just didn’t have the legs to go with those guys over the top of the Saint Roche.”
|1||Tim Wellens (BEL) - Lotto Soudal||5:04:36|
|2||Tom Dumoulin (NED) - Team Sunweb|
|3||Jasper Stuyven (BEL) - Trek-Segafredo||0:00:17|
|4||Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) - BMC Racing Team|
|5||Tiesj Benoot (BEL) - Lotto Soudal|
|6||Michael Valgren Andersen (DEN) - Astana Pro Team||0:00:20|
|7||Oliver Naesen (BEL) - AG2R La Mondiale|
|8||Nils Politt (GER) - Katusha-Alpecin||0:01:42|
|9||Sep Vanmarcke (BEL) - Cannondale-Drapac|
|10||Dion Smith (NZL) - Wanty - Groupe Gobert|
|22||Jens Keukeleire (BEL) - ORICA-SCOTT||0:01:42|
|41||Alexander Edmondson (AUS) - ORICA-SCOTT||0:08:32|
|65||Mitch Docker (AUS) - ORICA-SCOTT||0:14:48|
|74||Simon Gerrans (AUS) - ORICA-SCOTT||0:14:48|
|123||Michael Hepburn (AUS) - ORICA-SCOTT||0:14:48|