21-year-old just misses out on the podium at Challenge Mallorca
Tao Geoghegan Hart produced an impressive performance in just his second race as a professional to finish fourth in the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana
The peloton faced a hilly course and wet conditions in the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, the second of four one day races that make up Challenge Mallorca.
The main group split on the descent of the Coll d’Orient, 83km into the 153km race between Sóller and Deià, with Geoghegan Hart’s Team Sky team-mate Lukas Wisniowski also making the 14-man front group before a puncture put him out of contention.
That larger group also contained the powerful Movistar duo of Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, but it was Wellens who first went solo, chased by Geoghegan Hart, Valverde and Andrey Amador (Movistar), David Belda (Burgos-BH), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Vicente Garcia (Spain), and Louis Vervaeke and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal).
Always a strong breakaway rider, Wellens increased his gap over the final climb of the day to eventually win by almost half a minute, while Geoghegan Hart said that only hesitation prevented him from following counter attacks from Vervauke and Garcia that meant they took the remaining podium places.
“On the last climb I lacked the confidence and waited a little too long when an attack went of two guys. I eventually chased them alone but the gap was too large, one guy versus two, and I came in to the finish in the wet for fourth place,” Geoghegan Hart explained.
“I’m disappointed not to be on the podium and contest the win but I will take confidence from this. Thanks to the guys for giving me the chance to attack. I really enjoyed the race and tricky conditions.”
Challenge Mallorca 2017, Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana (153.9km)
1. Tim Wellens (BEL) Lotto-Soudal, in 4-06-42
2. Louis Vervaeke (BEL) Lotto-Soudal, at 24 secs
3. Vincente Garcia (ESP) Spain, at 29 secs
4. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR) Team Sky, at 58 secs
5. Andrey Amador (CRI) Movistar, at 2-15
6. Emanuel Buchmann (GER) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 2-32
7. David Belda (ESP) Burgos-BH, at 2-56
8. Tiesj Benoot (BEL) Lotto-Soudal, at 3-43
9. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar, same time
10. Elmar Reinders (NED) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij, at 4-21