Sports director Mario Aerts outlines his expectations for the Vuelta a España. Both Jens Debusschere and Vegard Breen will ride their first grand tour. Adam Hansen on the other hand has a lot of experience, he will ride his tenth grand tour in a row. Also Jurgen Van den Broeck will be participating in Spain. Just like Maxime Monfort and Bart De Clercq. Mario Aerts explains each rider's role and looks at the route.
Mario Aerts: "Obviously Jurgen Van den Broeck felt the consequences of his crashes during the Tour and his illness. Between the end of the Tour and the beginning of the Vuelta there are only four weeks, not that much time. First Jurgen took some rest and then resumed his training. He travels to Spain without GC ambitions. In the mountain stages he could aim for a stage win."
"Maxime Monfort had two main goals at the beginning of the season: the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España. He will aim for a top 15 sport in the overall standings. Maxime reached the sixth sport in the GC in 2011, so the Vuelta suits him. Bart De Clercq abandoned the Tour. So there were questions marks about his selection for the Vuelta, but he is fit. In the Tour of Poland he kept progressing. If it's possible we would like to strive for a good GC with him as well. After the first mountain stages we will see what's possible.""Sander Armée didn't race for a long time. After the Belgian Championship he had a long period without races and in the Tour of Poland he had to quit because of illness. The matter of pith is in the last week. He will be a certain help for our team captains in the final. He disposes of a great engine and won't break that easy."
"Our main sprinter is going to be Jens Debusschere. The competition is strong. Among others Bouhanni, Degenkolb and Sagan will be participating. But with Greg Henderson we have a great lead-out. We go for a stage win. There are four flat stages which are suiting for bunch sprints. Besides those four, there are six stages with little climbs or slight uphill finishes. We will see where Jens can survive and strive for that stage win."
"Vegard Breen's first grand tour will be a discovery for him where he can grow. He did very well in the Tour of Poland. Vegard can also play a role in sprint lead-out. And who knows he could get away in a breakaway."
"Adam Hansen and Pim Ligthart are natural born attackers. They will get several chances to participate in a breakaway and create opportunities for a stage win. Besides that they are very good at piloting the sprinters to the front of the peloton in the final. They also can stand by the climbers' sides. True all-rounders"
The third grand tour of the year is coming: the Vuelta a España! It's becoming a tradition to kick off with a team time trial in the evening. This year the start of the Tour of Spain takes place in Jerez de la Frontera. The caravan heads from the southern Andalusia to the northwestern Galicia where the Vuelta finishes, in Santiago de Compostela. Besides the team trial there are two other individual time trials. It seems to be a strive for the overall standings until the final stage.
Final day's judgement?
Tim Wellens has won the tenth edition of the Eneco Tour. After his fantastic stage win of yesterday the entire Lotto Belisol team defended the leader's jersey of the young rider, who could stand on the podium as the overall winner; the first WorldTour overall victory for Lotto Belisol.
Before the stage the situation was clear: Wellens had to keep an eye on Lars Boom and Tom Dumoulin first of all and don't give them any space. Also the wind promised to play its part in Dutch and Belgian Limburg, on a course that had similarities to the Amstel Gold Race, with many turns and 22 hills.
It took about fifteen kilometers before a front group of 20 riders was formed. Julien Vermote was the best ranked rider in GC, at more than six minutes of Wellens, so he wasn't a big threat. The escapees also took the bonification seconds, so Boom and Dumoulin didn't get the opportunity to get closer. The gap rose up to 5'20" after 80 kilometers, while Lotto Belisol, with among other Dockx and Sieberg, set the pace in the peloton.
With the final coming up it was Belkin, as expected, that took the initiative, but the two attempts to make echelons weren't successful; Wellens and his teammates were racing really attentively. Behind the back of Roelandts and Vanendert Wellens saw the distance to the finish getting smaller, the peloton had been considerably reduced. In front it was Van Keirsbulck who attacked with 15 kilometers to go. The rider of OPQS set a strong performance and rode solo to the victory. On the last hill BMC tried, together with Boom and Dumoulin, to attack Wellens one last time, but Tim responded to all their moves. In the final kilometers the danger had gone.
Tim Wellens, overall winner Eneco Tour: "Before this weekend I had never won a race yet, so this is definitely the highlight of my career so far. A WorldTour victory in Belgium is really special. Many people cheered for me along the way, start town Riemst is at 20 kilometers from my parents' house."
"Before the stage there was more attention for the danger of the wind than for Boom and Dumoulin. The way the team performed today is fantastic. I could actually be relaxed in the wheel of Sieberg first and than that of Roelandts. Belkin tried to make an echelon twice, but we never had problems. We were really focused and only on the last hill Boom and Dumoulin tried to force something."
"Two days before the start I went to see the team doctor because I was ill. We postponed the decision to start and of course I'm very pleased I did start. The beginning of the week was difficult for the team, but as of Friday I started believing there were opportunities. And with Jelle Vanendert I had a teammate who was really strong as well."
"The opportunities me and other young Belgian riders get wouldn't be there without the immense support of Lotto. The different projects with which they give chances to young riders to develop their talent brought me to where I am today. The Belgian cycling project, with the support of so many Belgian partners, is indispensable for our cycling sport."
"This victory doesn't mean I will start as a favourite in the next one-day races of the WorldTour, but I'm eager to perform well in Plouay - working for the team - Québec, Montréal and Lombardia."
Herman Frison, sports director: "It was predicted not to be an easy day, but the guys did their job perfectly. You see what a leader's jersey does to a team. Riders like Sieberg and Dockx didn't get their ideal course but rode a hell of a race. I think we rode our best race of the season collectively. But I was only certain when he had actually crossed the finish line."
"With Tim a Belgian rider wins the only Belgian World Tour stage race, in a cycling country like ours. On top of that he comes from our own development project, in which it's our vision and that of the sponsors to offer opportunities to young riders; the way he did this is really nice. Maybe races like Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico are of another level, but when you look at the attractiveness you can rate the Eneco Tour higher than País Vasco, Catalunya or Romandie I think."
"This week didn't start well. Roelandts didn't feel well on day one and got dropped, Debusschere had diarrhea a day later and our team got surprised by a split in the peloton and Thursday Greipel had to abandon due to illness and go home without a stage win. I know him, if he leaves the race he really isn't feeling well. Tim stood at 49" and Jelle at more than a minute, so a place between five and ten in GC looked the highest possible. But Friday was a change for us. Jens joined a break, Jelle and Tim moved up in GC and the performance of Tim on Saturday was really great."
"Saturday the Vuelta begins and the next few weeks there are five more WorldTour one-day races programmed. We have to continue this way and with guys like Greipel, Roelandts, Wellens, Vanendert and Gallopin we definitely aim for points."
The stage win and overall victory of Tim Wellens yield him and the team 106 WorldTour points, so with 452 points the team jumps from the sixteenth to the thirteenth place.
Buy a Lotto Belisol outfit in our e-shop with a discount of 30%!
Do you also want to go out on your bike in the retro shirt of Lotto Belisol? Surf to our e-shop. You can also buy a pair of shorts. And for rainy rides on the bike you can rely on the jacket. And what do you think of a pair of Lotto Belisol socks? There's also a discount on the fan items, like postcards and race hats. We also have leisure wear to offer, sweaters for example.
Don't' miss out on this action!
As from today, August 7, until Tuesday the 12th of August you get the unique opportunity to buy a version of the Belgian champion's jersey of Jens Debusschere or of the German champion's jersey of André Greipel! A jersey costs 65€ of which 10€ will be donated to Make-A-Wish, the wish-granting organization Lotto Belisol supports this year.
Do you want to order one or more jerseys? Send an e-mail to email@example.com with your name, address, phone number and size. Delivery will be around the 10th of September.
In July we provide you with four new wallpapers! From now on you can download the last one.
Go to our multimedia page.