After winning two stages on the Giro, Tim Wellens was able to raise his arms on the Vuelta. At the end of a first nervous stage before the peloton let go of a breakaway, the Belgian of the Lotto-Soudal formation made speak his explosiveness in the final false-flat to take the measure of a combative Guillaume Martin. A stage that started strong with a group of fourteen riders, including that of the Cofidis training. A breakaway that several teams, including NTT and Trek-Segafredo did not want to let go. Tim Wellens, in sight from the start, tried to join this breakaway but to no avail. For almost an hour and a half, the leader of the race and the peloton clashed with a gap that never exceeded 30 seconds but, following an acceleration by the EF team, the effort of the fugitives has been reduced to nothing. In the process, Rémi Cavagna accelerated with Andrey Amador before being caught by Magnus Cort Nielsen and Stan Dewulf … but this effort did not last more than three kilometers.
Wellens was right to insist
The “TGV de Clermont” had a lot of ideas, trying again to escape but the rider of the Deceuninck-Quick Step team was no more successful. The second big breakaway attempt, with Tim Wellens, Guillaume Martin, Nelson Oliveira or Andrea Bagioli, was able to take off even if, at first, the Ineos Grenadiers team did not give its approval. Indeed, the presence of Sepp Kuss, teammate of Primoz Roglic, was not to the taste of Dave Brailsford’s men … just like the rest of the breakaway which tried to get rid of the American. At the edge of the last 80 kilometers, Thymen Arensman and Tim Wellens isolated themselves at the head of the race with Guillaume Martin chasing for about ten kilometers before reaching the junction. Once the rest of the initial breakaway had been absorbed by the peloton, the leading trio were able to widen the gap to ensure they played for the stage victory.
Roglic scratched a few seconds
Indeed, the Ineos Grenadiers team no longer having any interest in riding behind the breakaway, the peloton lost pace in relation to the head of the race. It was then the Total Direct Energie team which settled at the head of the peloton in the hope of coming back to the top three. The three escaped runners did not hesitate to collaborate until the red flame. It was then that Thymen Arensman made the first start, temporarily picking up Guillaume Martin. But the last kilometer on an uphill slope played in favor of the French rider who came back on Tim Wellens before accelerating but the Belgian was too explosive to be beaten in such a final and logically raised his arms. A little over two minutes later, the peloton was shaken by a fall involving Dan Martin, second in the general classification and David Gaudu. An incident that created a moment of hesitation that Primoz Roglic tried to take advantage of, taking four seconds from Richard Carapaz to consolidate his red jersey.