Wallays wins two-man sprint to claim Paris-Tours

Voeckler forced to settle for second

Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise) took the biggest win of his career with victory over Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in Paris-Tours on Sunday. The pair had been part of a break that formed in the early stages of the 237-kilometre race and held on all the way until the finish, managing to hold off the main favourites in the peloton with Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol) taking third.

Wallays, who won the same event at the under-23 level in 2010, delivered a tactically astute race, following Voeckler’s attack on the final climb when the remnants of the early break began to falter, and then forcing the more experienced Frenchman to lead the sprint out as the bunch desperately tried to get back on terms.

The leading pair had been part of a seven-man move that formed within the opening kilometres. Voeckler, looking to put a year disrupted by injury behind him was one of the first to instigate the attack with Wallays, Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty - Groupe Gobert), Cesare Benedetti (Team Netapp – Endura), Yoann Paillot (La Pomme Marseille), Pierre Gouault (BigMat - Auber 93) and Julien Duval (Roubaix Lille Metropole) joining the fray.

The race has a habit of bringing forward surprise winners but the dice were loaded in the sprinters’ teams favour, even when the break established a lead of over seven minutes.

Giant-Shimano's John Degenkolb and Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr) had lined up in a wet and chilly depart as the main favourites and when they began to set their teams to work in the first half of the race it looked as though the WorldTour pedigree in the bunch would win out.

When the gap was reduced to two minutes with 30 kilometres remaining it looked as though the writing was on the wall but as the roads narrowed in the finale so did the sprinters’ chances.

Voeckler harried his companions to fight on as they tackled the third last climb of the Côte de Crochu as Giant-Shimano and FDJ slalomed through the corners. At the back of the field there were several crashes, one involving a race motorbike, as the wet roads, tired legs and last ditch efforts combined to take the sting out of the peloton.

Voeckler, Wallays, and Van Melsen powered clear, distancing the rest of the break before the Côte de Beau Soleil.

The gap to the trio was still ticking down but as the peloton hit the climb Sep Vanmarcke – just as he had done 12 months previously – attacked. The Belkin rider split the field, dragging with him a group containing Degenkolb, his Giant-Shimano teammate Ramon Sinkeldam and several others with him.

Sinkeldam was the power the break needed as they looked to cut across to the three leaders. Degenkolb’s presence, however, seemed to unsettle his rivals in the move as Vockler attacked up ahead and dragged Wallays with him.

Demare and FDJ were floundering, briefly unable to match Giant’s aggression but even when the leading duo hit the final climb of the Côte de l'Épan they still held a 30-second advantage.

If the bunch were going to react it had to be now. Degenkolb’s group had lost its urgency with riders either sitting up or launching attacks and it was Garmin who eventually brought the field back together.

Voecker and Wallays had been given too much room. They only relented in pace sharing once the finish was in sight, with Voeckler constantly looking over his shoulder as Wallays sat back and let the more experienced ride into the wind.

The Frenchman duly opened up his sprint inside the final 150 meters but there was already an air of resignation around him as he watched Wallays come around his left-hand side and take a comfortable win.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise5:26:18 
2Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  
3Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:00:12 
4Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
5Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling  
6Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
7Kristan Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka  
8Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
9Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
10Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
11Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
12Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling  
13Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
14Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
15Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin Sharp  
16Tiesj Benoot Lotto Belisol  
17Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
18Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
19Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
20Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
21Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling  
22Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R La Mondiale  
23Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale  
24Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
25Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ.fr  
26José Goncalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille  
27Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
28Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Belisol0:00:19 
29Martin Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
30Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
31Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling  
32Oliver Naesen (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
33Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
34Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
35Morgan Lamoisson (Fra) Team Europcar  
36Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar  
37Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing  
38Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling0:00:26 
39Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
40Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:00:29 
41Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin Sharp0:00:36 
42Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr0:00:39 
43John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano  
44Tim De Troyer (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:41 
45Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:01:08 
46Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing  
47Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano0:01:16 
48Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:01:22 
49Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:01:50 
50Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:02:33 
51Alexander Krieger (Ger) Team Netapp - Endura0:02:39 
52Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) La Pomme Marseille0:02:49 
53Sebastian Lander (Den) BMC Racing Team0:02:51 
54Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
55Ralf Matzka (Ger) Team Netapp - Endura  
56Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
57Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:03:12 
58Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN - Qhubeka  
59Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek Factory Racing  
60Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr  
61Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille  
62Martin Wesemann (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka0:04:17 
63Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka  
64Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling  
65Tom Veelers (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
66Domingos Goncalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille  
67Taruia Krainer (Fra) Team Europcar  
68Pierre Gouault (Fra) BigMat - Auber 100  
69Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
70Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille  
71Jimmy Turgis (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
72Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
73Steven Tronet (Fra) BigMat - Auber 98  
74Yoann Paillot (Fra) La Pomme Marseille  
75Théo Vimpere (Fra) BigMat - Auber 99  
76Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
77Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
78Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
79Timothy Dupont (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
80Eugenio Alafaci (Ita) Trek Factory Racing  
81Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo  
82Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
83Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
84Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
85Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
86Woutpoels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
87Dylan Girdlestone (RSA) Garmin Sharp  
88Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano  
89Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ.fr  
90Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
91Christophe Laborie (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
92Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
93William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.fr  
94Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
95Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
96Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
97Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
98Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar0:05:11 
99Julien Duval (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole0:06:06 
100Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:08:05 
101Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:08:51 
102Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
103Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek Factory Racing  
104Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek Factory Racing  
105Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
106Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
107Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement0:10:24 
108Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
109Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ.fr  
110Clément Koretzky (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
111Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar0:10:27 
112Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar  
113Rick Flens (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
114Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
115Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling  
116Jetse Bol (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
117Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
118Jaco Venter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
119Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing  
120Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) BigMat - Auber 930:10:33 
121Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin Sharp  
122David Boucher (Fra) FDJ.fr  
123Christophe Kern (Fra) Team Europcar  
124Frederic Brun (Fra) BigMat - Auber 94  
125Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team Netapp - Endura  
126Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team Netapp - Endura  
127Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ.fr  
128Maxime Renault (Fra) BigMat - Auber 97  
129Flavien Dassonville (Fra) BigMat - Auber 95  
130Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:12:27 
131Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:12:31 
132Patrick Konrad (Aut) Team Netapp - Endura0:13:42 
DNFJulien Antomarchi (Fra) La Pomme Marseille  
DNFGregor Muhlberger (Aut) Team Netapp - Endura  
DNFMichael Schwarzmann (Ger) Team Netapp - Endura  
DNFScott Thwaites (GBr) Team Netapp - Endura  
DNFGijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFClément Saint-Martin (Fra) La Pomme Marseille  
DNFAlo Jakin (Est) BigMat - Auber 96  
DNFJean Lou Paiani (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
DNFVegard Stake Laengen (Nor) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
DNFRudy Kowalski (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
DNFIljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFNicolas Dougall (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFRomain Pillon (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
DNFRomain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFChristophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFRamunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin Sharp  
DNFLasse Norman Hansen (Den) Garmin Sharp  
DNFJimmy Raibaud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFGediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFThomas De Gendt (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFLuke Davison (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
DNFMichal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFRasmus Guldhammer (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
DNFThierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano  
DNFSongezo Jim (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka  
DNFPatrick Gretsch (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale  

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