Late drama denies Lawless podium

31 Jul 2019

Late drama denies Lawless podium

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Tour de Wallonie stage five: Couvin - Thuin, 186.7km.

Chris Lawless narrowly missed out on a podium place at Tour de Wallonie after he suffered a late puncture that would prove costly on the final stage which was won by Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal).

Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept - B&B Hotels) and Van der Sande went clear of a lead group with two kilometres remaining and the chasing pack were unable to follow, with the Lotto Soudal man edging Coquard to the line to move second overall ahead of Dries De Bondt (Correndon -Circus).

Lawless battled back from an unfortunate puncture in the final 10 kilometres to re-join the peloton, just as the attacks from the reduced bunch began, which saw him battle valiantly to limit his losses.

He powered home in the first chase group, having put in a significant effort to re-join the group before the attack and was able to reduce the gap dramatically, losing just seven seconds to the winning duo.

However, the time bonuses available meant Lawless moved down to fourth overall, with Eddie Dunbar sixth as Loic Vliegen (Wanty Gobert Cycling Team) won the race overall. 

The Wigan rider did win the best young rider classification and Team INEOS were also crowned the best team of the race. 
Chris Lawless

Chris Lawless

"I hit a hole and punctured, and it was one of the worst times to puncture."
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Chris Lawless

“When we first started the day we were all in for Halvorsen and we went up the finish climb a second time and we did a bit of a status check and Kristoffer said he wasn’t feeling 100%, so DS Brett Lancaster asked me how I was feeling on the radio and we made the call with Kristoffer that we’ll ride for me.

“I was sat on Christian Knees’ wheel with Halvorsen, who was going to lead me out onto the climb, and I hit a hole and punctured, it was one of the worst times to puncture. There were lots of little lanes to navigate and then once you’ve got up those lanes it was a really quick run in. 

“Knees has come back to me and worked hard to bring me back, I had to take a few risks on the descent into the bottom of the climb and I got up to about 12th wheel and it was one wheel too far back.

"The guy infront of me let the wheel go so there was a gap to the lead group and I couldn’t close it down on my own, that’s how they got the time gaps and I lost my placing on GC. It was an all-out effort for me and I had to try and hold onto the wheel.”

"The past two days my legs didn’t feel too great and I was hanging on to my GC position, and at the start today I didn’t feel too good either, but by the end I felt good again. I’ll have a few easy days now and do a few activation efforts and go into RideLondon going well Halvorsen is there too and we’ve got a number of options so we’ve got a strong team there so it should be a good race.”
Final standings

1. Loic Vliegen (Wanty Gobert Cycling Team) 22:12:13
2. Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) +8"
3. Dries De Bondt (Correndon -Circus) s.t.
4. Chris Lawless (Team INEOS) +15"
5. Quentin Pacher  (Vital Concept - B&B Hotels) +16"

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