What's Cool In Road Cycling

Preview Tour de Wallonie

Between July 22nd and 26th, the Tour de Wallonie takes place for the 38th time. There are several hills on the course in all five stages, which makes this stage race ideally for puncheurs who can survive a race on a hilly course.

The first stage of the Tour de Wallonie is the hardest of the five and the riders who aim for a good result on GC, need to be in good shape that day. There are three hills at the end of this stage and the final straight goes uphill as well. The second stage has a similar profile, although the finale is less tough than in the first stage. The third stage suits the puncheurs once more, since it ends on the Mur Saint-Roch, a steep one-kilometre hill. On the fourth day of this year’s edition, the riders face the easiest stage, which will probably conclude in a sprint finish. The last stage might also see a sprint with a large group, although the Mur de Thuin is a treacherous climb in the last kilometre of the race.

Kurt Van de Wouwer, sports director Lotto Soudal: “The Tour de Wallonie is the first race for many riders after a time without competition. Most of them have recently come back from altitude training, so we might have to wait and see which level they already reach in this stage race. The Tour de Wallonie is a perfect opener to the second half of the season and to prepare for the races in the upcoming months.”

“Contrary to the previous years, the Tour de Wallonie starts immediately with a tough stage. I suppose that this stage will already be decisive for the general classification, together with the second and third stage. The course in the final two stages is less tough and I think that these will end in a bunch sprint or at least a sprint with a large group. Jasper De Buyst, Moreno Hofland and Tosh Van der Sande are three riders on our team who have a strong sprint and they can compete for the win in these stages.”

“The main goal is to win at least one stage in the Tour de Wallonie. We start with a competitive line-up that must be able to compete for the victory in every stage. Depending on the results in the first stages, we will see if a good result in the general classification is possible as well. For this, we mainly count on Jelle Vanendert, who finished in fourth place last year at only seven seconds. The French teams are always strong in this stage race and BMC has a strong line-up as well. These teams will probably be our biggest competitors.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Sean De Bie, Jasper De Buyst, Moreno Hofland, Nikolas Maes, Rémy Mertz, James Shaw, Tosh Van der Sande and Jelle Vanendert.
Sport directors: Kurt Van de Wouwer and Marc Wauters.

Stages:
Stage 1 Saturday 22 July: Stavelot – Marchin (189.9 km)
Stage 2 Sunday 23 July: Chaudfontaine – Seraing (191.5 km)
Stage 3 Monday 24 July: Arlon – Houffalize (182.7 km)
Stage 4 Tuesday 25 July: Bruxelles – Profondeville (164.1 km)
Stage 5 Wednesday 26 July: Chièvres – Thuin (182.6 km)

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