Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) wrapped up his second Eneco Tour title by finishing safely in the pack as BMC’s Manuel Quinziato won the final stage to Geraardsbergen from the breakaway.
Quinziato, 35, took his second Eneco stage nine years after his first in 2006 as he outwitted his two breakaway companions Bjorn Leukemans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Yves Lampaert (Ettix-Quick-Step) with an attack on the final climb.
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A strong chase group, including Giant-Alpecin’s Simon Geschke, attempted to bridge the gap to the break with 40km to go but the high pace set by Lotto-Soudal in the peloton ensured they were reeled back in.
But the gap to the three leaders remained at over a minute with 5km to go. Quinziato laid down his attack on the final climb, leaving Leukemans and Lampaert in his wake.
The Italian soon built up an unassailable lead and the time trial powerhouse soloed all the way to the line. Leukemans and Lampaert almost caught Quinziato by the line with the 38-year-old Leukemans pipping Lampaert, 14 years his junior, to second place.
Lotto-Soudal’s hard work on the front of the peloton ensured that Wellens retained the leader’s jersey and takes the title for the second successive year while teammate Andre Greipel wins the points competition.
Eneco Tour stage seven: Sint-Pieters-Leeuw – Geraardsbergen
1. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing, 4:18:18
2. Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 3s
3. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx-Quick-Step, at 8s
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, at 38s
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx-Quick-Step, st
6. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 40s
7. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
8. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 42s
9. Philippe Gilbert (Ita) BMC Racing, st
10. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-GreenEdge, st
Final general classification after stage seven
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 26:31:59
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, at 59s
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Lotto NL-Jumbo, at 1-17
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing, at 1-40
5. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing, at 1-48
6. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana, at 1-54
7. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo, at 2-02
8. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 2-11
9. Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo, at 2-11
10. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx-Quick-Step, at 2-11