Cycling | 19 februari 2017

Campenaerts places third in the Ruta del Sol’s rainy final stage

Victor Campenaerts survived in an escape and placed third in the final, and rainy, stage of the Ruta del Sol today. Tim Wellens won the stage, 151 kilometers from Setenil de las Bodega to Coin.

“I never felt cold,“ said Campenaerts. “It was good to be in the breakaway. It didn’t take long before we escaped and we knew we would ride for the victory.

“At first, I thought the sprint teams would chase. But during the neutralised zone, I saw that Wellens wanted to escape so I knew his team wouldn’t chase us.

“I wanted to attack over the hill at 15 kilometres from the finish, but is wasn’t hard enough. During the final, I tried it a few times, but unfortunately, I didn’t escape."

The riders in the breakaway began to look at each other and the stage finished in a six-man sprint. “I had to trust on my sprint,” he added.

“If you asked me before the race if I’d accept a stage win and third in another, I would’ve said yes. I’m really happy with this Ruta del Sol.”

Campenaerts won the time trial stage two days ago, his first since the Belgian time trial championships.

Floris De Tier and Stef Clement place top 20

The overall lead stayed much the same in the final stage. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) kept his lead and LottoNL-Jumbo’s Floris De Tier placed 16th at 3-53 minutes. Stef Clement also made the top 20, with 18th at 4-29.

“It was a good week,” Sports Director Grischa Niermann said. “Campenaerts won the time trial and placed third today. The young riders showed that they’re strong uphill.

“We didn’t bring a sprinter to Spain so there were possibilities for the other riders. Martijn Keizer was part of the breakaway yesterday and Campenaerts today -- perfect.”