Two-time titlist when the race was known as the Eneco Tour, Tim Wellens triumphed in the sixth stage of the renamed BinckBank Tour on Saturday, winning from a breakaway duo with Giro d’Italia champion Tom Dumoulin. Dumoulin takes the leader’s green jersey from Lars Boom with one stage to go.


The Route
Just over 200-km, the sixth stage held 14 categorized climbs, the longest of which, 7.6-km Mont Rigi, and the steepest of which, 1.2-km, 12.2% Cote de la Ferme Libert, came in the middle of the course. In general, the ascents were longer than those of Friday.

There were four climbs in the last 34-km, and the Golden Kilometre was set right after Rue Bois de Moines, 1.2-km of 7.2%. Two milder hills led to the finish town of Houffalize.


Nineteen-seconds separated Lars Boom from Wellens in fourth, with Peter Sagan two-seconds back and Dumoulin eight-seconds in arrears.

Conditions were rainy and windy.


The Breakaway
It took a while for a breakaway to stick, but finally a sextet containing Tony Martin (Germany/Katusha) scampered away. Martin crashed but rejoined his breakmates. With 60-km remaining the escape held a 3:30 gap.


The Endgame
On the climb that started the final lap, the Côte de Saint-Roch with 34-km to go, the peloton’s pace had gobbled up the break. Teisj Benoot (Belgium/Lotto-Soudal) lit the fuse, splitting the front of the field. Sagan, Dumoulin and Wellens were all accounted for. Once the group swelled a bit, Oliver Naesen (Belgium/AG2R) tried to bounce off the front.

On the Rue Bois de Moines Sagan suffered a mechanical. With Naesen brought back, Wellens attacked over the top in pursuit of the Golden Kilometre’s bonus seconds. Dumoulin and Greg Van Avermaet hard on his heels.


Twenty-kilometres remaining, Wellens and Dumoulin formed the leading duo with a chase of five–Van Avermaet, Jasper Stuyven, Naesen, Benoot and Michael Valgren–15-seconds behind. Sagan and Boom were a minute back.

Tim and Tom increased their gap over the chasing quintet, Benoot not working in the pursuit. Meanwhile, Sagan tried to shrink his deficit.

In the two-up sprint, Wellens got the better of Dumoulin, but the Dutchman would claim the race lead. Wellens, four-seconds back, is seemingly the only rider who can take the title from Dumoulin on Sunday’s final stage.

2017 BinckBank Tour Stage 6
1) Tim Wellens (Belgium/Lotto-Soudal) 5:04:36
2) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) s.t.
3) Jasper Stuyven (Belgium/Trek-Segafredo) +0:17

2017 BinckBank Tour GC
1) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) 20:27:49
2) Tim Wellens (Belgium/Lotto-Soudal) +0:04
3) Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium/BMC) +0:46


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