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Ruta del Sol: Wellens wins rainy final stage

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Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) on the podium

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) on the podium (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) wins the final stage

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) wins the final stage (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde and Thibaut Pinot on the podium

Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde and Thibaut Pinot on the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo)

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Javier Moreno (Bahrain Merida)

Javier Moreno (Bahrain Merida) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) claimed victory on the final stage of the Ruta del Sol as the breakaway made it all the way to the line in Coín. The Belgian out-foxed his companions in a tricky, tactical finale, beating Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) in the sprint. Victor Campenaerts (LottoNl-Jumbo) was third.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) kept a watchful eye on Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) to seal his fifth overall victory in six editions.

For Wellens, it was a redemption of sorts after his bold solo effort on stage 2 was hampered by a crash as he tried to upset the climbers.

The Belgian produced a powerful sprint and won clearly from the group of six, after marking the moves in a tactical final 10km.

With little urgency in the peloton, it was certain the breakaway would contest the win. The closing stages saw collaboration in the lead group fly out of the window, replaced by a spate of small attacks and the subsequent soft-pedalling ‘cat-and-mouse’.

It was Wellens who shut down an attack from Nick Van Der Lijke in the final 1500 metres, and he took the Roompot rider’s wheel going through the final bend before unleashing his sprint. Clarke couldn’t get on terms, while Campenaerts, who had been the keenest to break free from his companions, pipped Paterski for the final podium spot.

The peloton came across the line 1:45 later, and while some were sprinting for minor placings, Alberto Contador was not one of them.

Starting the day just one second behind Valverde on GC, there was room for final-day drama but with a bunch finish – especially against a rider as zippy as Valverde – he knew he’d have to settle for second place. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) rounded out the final podium, six seconds down on Valverde. 

How it unfolded

It was a wet and windy day in southern Spain, with heavy overnight rainfall having caused flooding in the Malaga region.

The miserable conditions, coupled with the relative paucity of top-level sprinters in the race, played into the breakaway’s hands, and an eight-man move formed after just four kilometres.

In it was: Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Garikoitz Bravo (Euskadi), Maciej Paterski (CCC), Victor Campenaerts (LottoNL-Jumbo), Nick Van Der Lijke (Roompot), Simon Clarke (Cannondale) and Domen Novak (Bahrain Merida).

They quickly built up a decent lead, with over four minutes after just 20km.

There were a couple of third-category climbs in the first half of the parcours, with Bravo taking the points on the first and Paterski the second. Georg Preidler (Team Sunweb) cemented the king of the mountains classification thanks to his earlier efforts.

With the second half of the parcours largely flat or downhill, the break stretched their lead out to over six minutes, and visions of a stage win were coming increasingly into focus.

There was no real urgency in the bunch, with very few top-level sprinters at the race, and the breakaway entered the final 30km with an advantage of four minutes. With 15km to go, they still had 2:30, despite some of the members shaking things up with a few digs.

Campenaerts, the winner of the stage 3 time trial, looked particularly keen, and it was he who started to attack again in the final several kilometres, sparking a game of cat and mouse. All the while, the peloton was advancing and going into final kilometres, their buffer was down to around 1:30.

With 2km remaining, Campenaerts made his biggest attack, but it was well marked by Clarke, and a long period of soft-pedalling ensued. The Belgian looked thoroughly disinterested in shutting moves down, and perhaps Clarke paid for his efforts when it was left to him to pull back Van Der Lijke and Wellens.

Wellens played it perfectly in the sprint, capitalising on Van Der Lijke’s early effort and coming through to punch the air in celebration, his opportunism landing him a third victory of the campaign.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal3:58:31
2Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac
3Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
4Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
5Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
6Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
7Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:01:34
8Hector Saez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:01:45
9Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
10Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
11Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
12Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ
13Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
14Javier Moreno (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
15Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
16Daniel Lopez (Spa) Burgos BH
17Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
18Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky
19Maxime Farazijn (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
20Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Sunweb
21Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky
22José Manuel Díaz (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy
23Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Team Sunweb
24Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
25Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
26Adrian Gonzalez (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
27Michal Schlegel (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
28Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
29Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky
30Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky
31Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team
32Felix Großschartner (Aut) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
33Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
34Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team
35Floris De Tier (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
36André Cardoso (Por) Trek-Segafredo
37Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
38Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky
39Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
40Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) FDJ
41Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
42Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Drapac
43Ondrej Cink (Cze) Bahrain-Merida
44Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac
45Stijn Devolder (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
46Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ
47Andrei Solomennikov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo
48Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
49Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
50Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo
51Ibai Salas (Spa) Burgos BH
52Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
53Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
54Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
55Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
56Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
57Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal
58Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
59Jesus Hernandez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
60Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain-Merida
61Steve Morabito (Swi) FDJ
62Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
63Alexander Aranburu (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
64Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
65Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
66Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal
67Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal
68Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
69Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Israel Cycling Academy
70Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team Sunweb
71Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
72Dmitriy Kozontchuk (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo
73Martijn Budding (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
74David Belda (Spa) Burgos BH
75Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac
76Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb
77Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
78Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie
79Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb
80Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Sunweb
81David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky
82Victor De La Parte (Spa) Movistar Team
83Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie
84Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie
85Pim Ligthart (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
86Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
87Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
88Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky0:02:35
89Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team0:03:42
90Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:06:02
91Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
92Pello Olaberria (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
93Daniel Turek (Cze) Israel Cycling Academy
94Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy
95Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
96Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ
97Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
98Berden De Vries (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
99Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems Crelan
100Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
101Jorge Arcas Peña (Spa) Movistar Team
102Jon Irisarri (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
103Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo
104William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ
105Igor Merino (Spa) Burgos BH
106Gotzon Udondo (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
107Julien Morice (Fra) Direct Energie
108Leszek Plucinski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
109Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team
110Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
111Aydar Zakarin (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo
112Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
113Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:06:11
114Yohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie
115Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac
116Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo
117Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy0:10:38
118Ruben Pols (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
119Alvaro Robredo (Spa) Burgos BH
120Marcin Bialoblocki (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
121Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy
122Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
123Mark Mcnally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
124Jens Wallays (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise

Final general classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team17:12:23
2Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:00:01
3Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ0:00:06
4Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky0:00:21
5Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky0:00:45
6Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky0:00:48
7Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ0:00:52
8Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac0:01:29
9Ondrej Cink (Cze) Bahrain-Merida0:01:48
10Javier Moreno (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:01:50
11Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:01:57
12Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb0:02:04
13Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky0:02:27
14Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:03:46
15Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb0:03:47
16Floris De Tier (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:03:53
17Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:04:13
18Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:04:29
19Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:04:48
20Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:04:52
21Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team Sunweb0:04:59
22Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Team Sunweb
23Michal Schlegel (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:05:12
24Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij
25Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias0:05:25
26André Cardoso (Por) Trek-Segafredo0:05:29
27David Belda (Spa) Burgos BH0:05:36
28Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:06:13
29Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:08:04
30Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias0:08:19
31Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:08:33
32Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:08:53
33Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:08:56
34Victor De La Parte (Spa) Movistar Team0:09:42
35Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:09:56
36Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team0:09:57
37Hector Saez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:10:09
38Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo0:10:14
39Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:10:38
40Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team0:11:26
41Lukasz Owsian (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:11:39
42Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac0:12:00
43Martijn Budding (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:12:29
44Steve Morabito (Swi) FDJ0:13:00
45Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie0:13:32
46Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal0:13:46
47Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) FDJ0:13:57
48David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky0:14:34
49Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:14:38
50Alexander Aranburu (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:16:02
51Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy0:16:55
52Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:16:59
53Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb0:17:26
54Stijn Devolder (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:18:06
55Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Sunweb0:18:29
56Igor Merino (Spa) Burgos BH0:19:26
57Leszek Plucinski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:19:27
58Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac0:19:36
59Jesus Hernandez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:19:49
60Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:20:20
61Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:20:25
62Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:20:35
63Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:21:15
64Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Drapac0:21:44
65Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Sunweb0:21:45
66Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Drapac0:21:53
67Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:22:04
68Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky0:22:13
69Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:22:14
70Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie0:22:43
71Jon Irisarri (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:22:52
72Ibai Salas (Spa) Burgos BH0:23:11
73Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:25:13
74Maxime Farazijn (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:25:19
75Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:25:40
76Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:25:41
77Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ0:26:27
78Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac0:26:30
79Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Israel Cycling Academy0:26:38
80Andrei Solomennikov (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:26:46
81Dmitriy Kozontchuk (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:26:58
82Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team0:27:56
83Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky0:28:00
84Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal0:28:07
85Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:28:50
86Pim Ligthart (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:28:54
87Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:29:05
88José Manuel Díaz (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy0:29:08
89Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:29:39
90Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:30:49
91Felix Großschartner (Aut) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:30:53
92Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie0:30:57
93Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:30:59
94William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ0:31:40
95Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:32:00
96Daniel Turek (Cze) Israel Cycling Academy0:32:34
97Aydar Zakarin (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:33:00
98Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:33:22
99Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain-Merida0:34:00
100Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:35:00
101Julien Morice (Fra) Direct Energie0:35:02
102Adrian Gonzalez (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias0:35:07
103Daniel Lopez (Spa) Burgos BH0:35:48
104Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy0:35:52
105Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:36:02
106Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:37:17
107Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:37:22
108Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ0:37:26
109Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team0:37:53
110Berden De Vries (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:38:46
111Yohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie0:38:49
112Jorge Arcas Peña (Spa) Movistar Team0:38:53
113Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias0:39:28
114Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy0:39:36
115Jens Wallays (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:39:42
116Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:39:51
117Pello Olaberria (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias0:42:24
118Ruben Pols (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:42:29
119Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo0:44:02
120Mark Mcnally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:44:24
121Marcin Bialoblocki (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice0:45:30
122Gotzon Udondo (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias0:45:55
123Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom – Rusvelo0:46:21
124Alvaro Robredo (Spa) Burgos BH0:47:46
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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.

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