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Wellens gets his fifth, Page's comeback

Wellens & Page

Wellens & Page (Image credit: Brecht Decaluwé)

By Brecht Decaluwé

Bart Wellens (Fidea) easily grabbed his fifth victory of the season on the cold and windy course near the North Sea coast in Middelkerke, Belgium. It took a while before the Belgian – currently second on the UCI cyclo-cross rankings – was able to ride away from his rivals but once he did he cruised to a rather easy victory.

Although after a few laps it looked as though Wellens couldn't follow the first group. "I was really bad during the first half of the race so I was happy the pace from the leaders dropped once in a while. I was able to ride my pace but when Franzoi or Commeyne accelerated up front, I always got distanced. I knew that when I wanted to get away I needed an immediate big gap as they would start looking at each other behind me; that plan worked very well," Wellens explained.

The group behind Wellens started to play a tactical game and eventually four riders fought for second place; American Jonathan Page and three Italians: Enrico Franzoi (Lampre), Marco Bianco (Arcobaleno Carraro) and Marco Aurelio Fontana (Guerciotti). Page gave everything, going into corners like a mad man, to deny the Italians their lead. "I wasn't afraid anymore, not today," Page referred to his abandon during yesterday's race in Loenhout.

Eventually Page grabbed a well deserved second place. Cyclingnews was right there at the finish where Page was welcomed by his wife Cori and little Emma, "It's great... I went down in the dumps yesterday and now I got second! The UCI-points that come with this second place are good but it's not that important as I'm so far back in the rankings now, they just help me to move up at the start a little," Page said. "Calling it a quit during yesterday's race was the best decision I could ever make."

For the full report, results and photos, click here.

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