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Cycling | 22 juli 2017

A puncture costs Lobato chance to win the Tour de Wallonie’s first stage

A flat tyre at a crucial moment in the Tour de Wallonie’s opening stage cost Juan Jose Lobato his chance to compete for the win. Benjamin Thomas won the stage from Stavelot to Marchin and took the lead in the classification. 

“On the descent of the Bohissea, Juan Jose got a puncture. Looking back, that was a crucial moment,” Sports Director Addy Engels said. “After the descent, the bunch broke in three pieces. Getting back to the front cost Juan Jose much energy. That was energy he missed in the final. 

“It was a though day, with a tricky course. We rode the final of the Flèche Wallonne, without the Mur de Huy. Juan Jose was the man we had planned to play for the win today. He won the intermediate sprint on one leg, but the flat cost him. 

“We rode full-gas. We did not plan to control the race from the beginning, but at a given moment, six riders took off. Then you have to control the race and try to force something. Bram controlled it with help from teams Lotto-Soudal and BMC. 

“In the final, Amund and Twan tried to break away a few times, but that did not work out today.” 

Tomorrow, “anything can happen” with a similar course that features a slightly easier finish. 

“It is possible that a big breakaway takes off and stays in the front, but on the other hand, it is possible that a small group breaks away. 

“We go into tomorrow’s stage with an attacking style, we will try to be in the breakaway. If that does not work out, we have a very quick sprinter with Juan Jose.”