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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, July 24, 2021

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Team reports on the Tour de Wallonie's fourth stage

We posted the stage four report from winner Dylan Groenewegen's Jumbo-Visma team with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Giacomo Nizzolo's Team Qhubeka-NextHash:

Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo Visma) won stage 4 of the Tour de Wallonie just ahead of the fast finishing European Champion, Giacomo Nizzolo of Team Qhubeka NextHash. Fernando Gavaria (UAE Team Emirates) was 3rd.

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen beats Giacomo Nizzolo for the stage win.

Stage 4 of the Tour de Wallonie was the longest stage of the race, measuring just over 205km in distance, from Neufchateau to Fleurus. It was a very fast stage, with multiple breakaway attempts throughout the stage. This made it a hard day out, the kind of race the European Champion enjoys.

A final climb in the last 14km reduced the peloton quite significantly but a number of top sprinters were still able to make the final selection, including Nizzolo. He also had teammate Dimitri Claeys with him, who played a great support role in the final kilometers.

Jumbo Visma lead out the sprint with Gavaria on the wheel of Groenewegen followed by Nizzolo. As Groenewegen made his push for the line down the right, Nizzolo pushed past the Colombian in front of him and went down the left side. Nizzolo showed good finishing speed but was just unable to pass Groenewegen before the line.

The 2nd place today follows on from Nizzolo’s 9th and 7th place placing’s on stage 1 and 2, respectively. Tomorrow will be the final stage of the Tour de Wallonie where another sprint finale is expected.

Here's the report from Florian Sénéchal's Team Deceuninck-Quick Step:

Deceuninck – Quick-Step was again a major player on the long and challenging stage 4, another hilly affair, this time from Neufchâteau to Fleurus, over 206 kilometers that included six classified climbs: Saut des Sorcières, Col du Sati, Côte d'Orchimon, Côte d’Agimont, Côte de Soulme and Côte du Petit Try.

After our team contributed to the chasing, making sure the seven-man breakaway would be brought back before the final 20 kilometers, Josef Cerny attacked ahead of the final difficulty and carved out a 26-second advantage. Unfortunately for the Czech National ITT Champion, despite going flat-out, his chances of making it were deterred by the stiff gradients of Petit Try.

A reduced group made it over the top of the hill, including three members of Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Andrea Bagioli set a big tempo at the front, before Yves Lampaert moved to the front of the bunch under the flamme rouge, with Florian Sénéchal in his wheel. The Frenchman was in a good position and looked to be on his way to a top 3 finish, but unfortunately, he slipped out of his pedal inside the last 100 meters and he concluded ninth, a result that continues to make him the highest ranked rider of our team in the general classification.

Florian Senechal

Florian Sénéchal racing in this year's Tour of Flanders. Sirotti photo

“I felt really good today and went for the sprint. Yves and Andrea did a great job and I was ideally placed in the finale, but slipped out my pedal and lost any chance of what I am confident would have been a solid result. We’ll now see what we can do in the last stage”, Florian explained.

Rudiger Selig's Team Bora-hansgrohe posted this report:

The fourth day of the Tour de Wallonie was a 206 km hilly course between Neufchâteau and Fleurus. A steep ramp awaited the riders in the final 10 km, but with the last section being quite flat until the finish, the sprinters still had a good chance to fight it out for the victory.

The race was punctuated by numerous attacks and counter attacks, yet no escapees were able to decisively go clear until a small group finally managed to break away from the field with 50 km of racing left. BORA - hansgrohe rode in the peloton during the day in order to save energy and potentially take a chance in the finale.

On the last climb, a group with Mateo Fabbro tore away from the reduced peloton, but their escape attempt had to ultimately remain unsuccessful. The final straight saw a sprint from a reduced field, which was won by Dylan Groenewegen. Rudi Selig was the best-placed BORA - hansgrohe rider, having finished in 11th place.

Rudi Selig

Rudi Selig racing in the 2015 Eneco Tour. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
"We set out to go on the attack and send all riders except Rudi into the moves. Unfortunately, we lost three riders early in the race, Patrick, Andreas and Erik, which somewhat limited our options. Despite this, we managed to put in a solid race. Owing to the fact that we lost so many riders, we then fully concentrated ourselves on the finale. Matteo Fabbro did a very good job again and was right up there in the attacks. In the end, we supported Rudi in the sprint, as much as was possible with our reduced squad. Considering the difficult nature of the finale, he also rode a solid race, however, in the end he wasn’t able to fully pull off his sprint without help. But still a solid performance, and tomorrow we'll try one last time and hope to finally achieve the result we’ve been hoping for." - Christian Pömer, Sports Director

And here's the report from Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert:

The riders left Neufchâteau (Luxembourg), at the start of stage 4 of the Tour de Wallonie, for a 200 km crossing towards Fleurus (Hainaut). Quinten Hermans, wearing the pink jersey as leader of the intermediate sprints, departed for the longest stage in sixth place overall.

Quinten Hermans

Quinten Hermans racing in the 2019 Essen Cyclo-Cross

Despite the climbs of the Saut des Sorcières, the Col du Sati and the Côte d’Orchimont included in the first 40 kilometers, no breakaway managed to extricate itself from the peloton. The riders then entered the province of Namur, and it was shortly after the intermediate sprint in Gedinne, at kilometer 70, that Baptiste Planckaert and De Marchi (Israel) were able to create a gap and leave the peloton for good.

In the summer heat, the pair kept opened the road for much of the day, taking advantage of a 6-minute lead. Planckaert, escaped for the second time in this Tour de Wallonie, crossed the top of the Côte d’Agimont first, a little less than 100 kilometers from the finish, just before the gap began to melt away following the change of pace of the peloton.

Shortly after the Côte de Soulme, exactly 80 kilometers from the end, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert engaged in a collective counterattack in an attempt to overturn the established order. Quinten Hermans, Loïc Vliegen and Andrea Pasqualon led a group of 15 riders which quickly made the junction on the leading duo. With Planckaert joining, four representatives of the team led by Valerio Piva and Jean-Marc Rossignon took charge of the front of the race, creating panic in the peloton.

The alliance of several teams trapped by the maneuver, however, allowed things to come back together 60 kilometers from the end. The race situation changed once again when Vliegen, winner of the race in 2019, made his move with 6 other riders before the first passage of the Côte du Petit Try. Despite their good cooperation, the men were caught as well 18 kilometers from the finish.

Despite a final acceleration in the second passage of the Côte du Petit Try, located 10 kilometers from the finish, the stage victory came down to a sprint between about fifty men. Groenewegen (Jumbo) won, while Quinten Hermans took 15th place. Hermans also remains 6th in GC, on the eve of the closing stage towards Quaregnon.

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