Eneco Tour review: Back-to-back wins for Wellens

Tim Wellens once again won the decisive stage six on a parcours not dissimilar to Liege-Bastogne-Liege with a solo long-range attack to take the white leader’s jersey with a comfortable margin which he successfully defended on the final day.

Rider of the race

Tim Wellens secures overall with a solo win o stage 6 (image: Photonews)

Tim Wellens secures overall with a solo win on stage six (Image: Photonews)

There were any number of worthy candidates in this cracking edition of the Eneco Tour with parcours (and weather) so reminiscent of the classics season. But I’m plumping for the winner of back-to-back titles, Lotto Soudal’s Tim Wellens. Like last year, the 24-year-old launched a decisive long-range attack on the penultimate stage, this time 25km from the finish, overhauled the breakaway and took the maximum nine seconds available at the golden kilometre to forge a comfortable lead of around a minute over the previous race leader, Wilco Kelderman.

Four things we noticed

1. BMC. The team rode a stonkingly aggressive race – always in the mix, on the attack and in the breaks. They are clearly looking to successfully defend their World Championship team time trial crown in Richmond while Philippe Gilbert (fourth overall) and Greg Van Avermaet (runner-up) are putting their respective cases for Belgian team leadership. The team also won the final mini-Flanders stage atop the Muur de Geraardsbergen with Manual Quinziato. It was only his second solo professional victory – the previous one, some nine years earlier, was also at the Eneco Tour. Here at VeloVoices Towers we love it when hard-working, loyal riders seize an opportunity for a well-deserved victory. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke!

2. Boonen’s back. This week Tom Boonen (and Andre Greipel) racked up his seventh stage win in the Eneco Tour, his only WorldTour win to date this year. I like to think that he’ll be coming nicely in to form for the World Championships road race in Richmond, Virginia, where the course suits his riding style and ability. It will be great to see him and a certain Swiss guy hammering up those cobbled hills on September 27th. Unfortunately for Tom, compatriots Gilbert and Van Avermaet are harbouring similar ambitions.

3. Greipel played a blinder. Andre Greipel followed up his four Tour de France stages wins in July with a monstrous performance here. Not only did he win a stage but he also took home the sprinters’ jersey, worked hard for race winner Wellens and the squad won the team prize.

4. The race. It was the April classics season rerun all in one week. Hats off to the organisers, who served up a thrilling race. While the riders make the race, the parcours made for exciting, seat-of-the-pants viewing every day.

I also love that the organisers have a formal team presentation the day before the race starts – more opportunities for the fans to see and interact with the riders – and they’re unafraid to innovate with the introduction this year of the ‘golden kilometre’.

The race in numbers

2 – Consecutive Eneco Tour victories for race winner Tim Wellens.

7 – Seven stages, seven different winners.

7 – Three riders have seven stage victories to their name – Boonen, Greipel and Boassen Hagen.

2 – Second time that a rider has won back-to-back victories in this race. Jose Ivan Guttierez won in 2007 and 2008. (Edvald Boassen Hagen also has two overall victories but not consecutively.)

General classification

1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 26:31:59

2. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) +0:59

3. Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) +1:17

4. Philippe Gilbert (BMC) +1:40

5. Fabio Felline (Trek) +1:48

6. Andriy Grivko (Astana) +1:54

7. Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) +2:02

8. Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) +2:11

9. Christopher Juul Jensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) same time

10. Jan Bakelants (Ag2r La Mondiale) s/t

Link: Official race website

Header: Eneco Tour 2015 podium, Eneco Tour

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