Lotto-Soudal Team (Spain) – After his stage win on Saturday, Tim Wellens could start the closing time trial of fourteen kilometres with seven seconds lead over Mikel Landa and eleven seconds over Wout Poels. The first part of the time trial mainly took place on off-road sections.
Before the top ten of GC began their time trial, David de la Cruz (Team Sky) had set a very strong time: 17’11”. None of the favourites could beat his time. Amador (at 6”) and Clement (at 7”) came close, but the Spaniard did win.
At the end one thing was at stake: would Tim Wellens maintain his leading position on GC? The young Spaniard Marc Soler (sixth at 32”) set a time of 17’20”. Luis León Sánchez, Jakob Fuglsang and Mikel Landa lost too much time to be in the running for the overall win. Wout Poels did set a strong time: 17’22”. Wellens could only win the overall classification if he didn’t lose more than ten seconds. The Belgian succeeded in his goal, covering the course in 17’25”. He finished eight and conquered the overall victory of the Ruta del Sol, his nineteenth pro victory.
Tim Wellens: “During the recon I had already noticed this was a course that suited me. The first part was special because of the off-road sections and in the second part there was a fast, downhill section. I had come to this race to set a good overall result. Last year I won a stage here. Before the time trial I gave myself 40 to 50 per cent chance. I expected most opposition from Wout Poels, which was the case too, and maybe Sánchez or Fuglsang. I hadn’t spent much time on the time trial bike recently and there were standing some strong time trialists behind me on GC, which made me a bit unsure.”
“Of course this is great, after winning at Challenge Mallorca. But the main goals still have to come. The next days I will take some rest, with a good training on Wednesday, and Thursday I will travel to Belgium to join the team for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. It will be a nice début, with nothing to lose. The shape is good, so we’ll see what’s possible. After the Omloop I’ll ride Paris-Nice.”