International Cycling

Wellens claims maiden Giro stage

2016-05-13 08:49
Tim Wellens (Getty Images)

Roccaraso - Belgium's Tim Wellens enjoyed a red letter day on the Giro d'Italia on Thursday with his maiden Grand Tour stage win as Tom Dumoulin held onto the leader's pink jersey.

The 25-year-old Wellens broke early and powered up the final 18km climb to Roccaraso to come home alone after the 157km sixth stage.

On the 2016 Giro's first gentle taste of mountain air Dumoulin held off challengers for his pink jersey, finishing fourth.

Looking in good shape the Dutch rider took a fistful of seconds off some of the main contenders for outright victory like Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, and Spanish duo Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde.

"My attack was not planned but I saw Nibali going so I went too," said the Team Giant leader.

"I really surprised myself. I was stronger than I expected. I didn't think I'd be in that shape for climbing. It was not a high mountain but it was still a proper climb."

Astana's Jakob Fuglsang got closest to Wellens, the Danish rider reaching the race's first summit finish in second, 1min19sec behind, with Russian Ilnur Zakarin on his rear wheel in third.

In the overall standings Dumoulin now leads Fuglsang by 26sec, with Valverde 41s away and Nibali 47.

Wellens made his stage-winning move 15km out, when he slipped free from his companions in the breakaway, first Eugert Zhupa and Alessandro Bisolti and then Laurent Didier and Pim Ligthart.

"I have Pim Ligthart to thank," he said.

"It was his idea to go away together at that point in the race.

"Then we bridged the gap to the leaders. I'm enormously happy with this victory. It's a little bit of a surprise."

One of the rising stars of Belgian cycling Wellens was giving himself the perfect present to mark his birthday on Tuesday.

Up to this point he had come in second twice in stages on his first Giro in 2014, won last year's Grand Prix de Montreal, and claimed the closing stage in this year's Paris-Nice.

He celebrated his career high by picking up his bike and waving it over his head.

Friday's seventh stage is a 211km ride from Sulmona to Foligno favouring the sprinters despite a second category climb.

Results of the Giro d'Italia sixth stage, a 157km ride from Ponte to Roccaraso on Thursday:

1. Tim Wellens (BEL/LOT) 157km en 4hr 40min 05sec, 2. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) at 1min 19sec, 3. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 1:19, 4. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 1:22, 5. Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR/DDT) 1:24, 6. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 1:24, 7. Esteban Chaves (COL/ORI) 1:29, 8. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) 1:33, 9. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 1:33, 10. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 1:36, 11. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) 1:36, 12. Sergey Firsanov (RUS/RVL) 1:39, 13. Bob Jungels (LUX/ETI) 1:41, 14. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) 1:43, 15. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/TRE) 1:43.


17. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 1:43

Overall standings

1. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 24:22:15, 2. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) at 0:26sec, 3. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 0:28, 4. Bob Jungels (LUX/ETI) 0:35, 5. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) 0:38, 6. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 0:41, 7. Diego Ulissi (ITA/LAM) 0:41, 8. Esteban Chaves (COL/ORI) 0:44, 9. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 0:47, 10. Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR/DDT) 0:49, 11. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) 0:51, 12. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 0:56, 13. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 0:56, 14. Rein Taaramae (EST/KAT) 1:06,15. Mikel Landa (ESP/SKY) 1:08.


55. Tim Wellens (BEL/LOT) 13:38.

Read more on:    cycling

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Besides the 'Big 3' of rugby, cricket and soccer, which of the 'smaller' sports in South Africa do you enjoy the most?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.