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Mathias Frank has positioned himself well for a high overall place at Wallonie (foto by Tim de Waele)
Mathias Frank has positioned himself well for a high overall place at Wallonie (foto by Tim de Waele)

In day with a huge selection, Mathias Frank moves up to 8th on GC at Wallonie

28. luglio 2009


Since the lumpy parcours laid out for the fourth stage at the Tour de Wallonie appeared inviting for a breakaway, it is perhaps not surprising that the day ended with a three man escape sprinting for the victory. 

Somewhat more surprising is the massive selection which split the field on the road and found the first 29 riders finishing within a minute and a half of the winners, while the other sixty riders languished over half an hour behind.  The three man break separated itself from the front 29 with Topsport Vlaanderen's Thomas De Gendt taking the stage while Julien El Farès from Cofidis snatched the leader's jersey.  BMC's GC trio of Mathias Frank, Florian Stalder and Thomas Frei all finished with the front group.  Frank's efforts moved him up into 8th place on the GC with one more stage to go. 

Everything according to plan

"We went out today knowing that the day would probably end up with a big break getting the gap on the rest of the field," Directeur Sportif John Lelangue explained.  "Early on there were a few attempted breaks that we tried to go with until finally the group of 25 or 30 got away with three of our best placed riders."  Pleased to have their team leaders in the front group, BMC worked to make this separation stick.  "When the split happened, the lead group quickly gained three minutes on the rest of the peloton," Lelangue clarified.  "Nearly all of the other teams' leaders were also in the front group so there was little impetus from behind to chase."  With good weather smiling down on the race all day, everyone was motivated to make the most of the opportunities to move up the GC. 

Constant attacking

At the front of the race, everyone seemed to have the same orders: attack.  "In the front group there was attacking going on from left, right and center," Lelangue said.  "We were certainly in the mix, but with such a wall of constant attacking, you can't cover them all and a small group of three ended up getting away."  Following close on the heels of the first group of three was a second group of three.  The first three escapees managed to hold a 52 second lead on the chasing three and a minute and a half advantage over the main group of leaders.  "Unfortunately we didn't have a rider among the six that got away, so we lost a little time to them, but the team worked well and we still have Mathias very close on the GC."  Frank who sits officially in 8th place, actually has the same time as the rider in 5th.  With just a nip and tuck between who is 5th and who is 15th on the GC, there will still be a lot of possible jostling for positions during the final stage.  "We will try something different for tomorrow's stage," Lelangue revealed.  "Mathias, Florian and Thomas are all in the top 20 and the team is working very well together, doing a great job for each other.  Everyone will be ready to help move our leaders forward on the classification."