Wallays wins two-man sprint to claim Paris-Tours

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

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#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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