The Tour de Wallonie, in southern Belgium, runs along training roads familiar to many Belgian riders, including Jurgen Roelandts of Lotto Soudal. After five years of riding the Tour de France, he opted to skip it this year and ride in Wallonie, along with a number of other top riders who were not in the Tour.
And that was the crux of the problem. It is held on well-know roads, and Lotto-Souda.l with an all-Belgian squad, hoped to do well. But they didn’t, as none of the squad had ridden the Tour and were coming off a rest period or training.
Jurgen Roelandts explained the difficulties of resuming racing after an altitude camp: “It makes it quite hard to race again, to start again, because when you come from altitude you always have a bit of ... condition goes down after this training camp and the first two days were hard to get back in competition."
It wasn’t to be their race though, Only four Lotto riders finished, with Boris Vallee as sixth overall and they took no stage wins. Nor was it much of a success for Belgians overall, although they had two out of five stage wins. The remaining stages and the overall title went to Dutch riders.
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