Team KATUSHA’s Viacheslav Kuznetsov started the 37th VOO-Tour de Wallonie with ambitions in the general classification. With this in mind, immediately from the start Kuznetsov put himself in the daily break, where he was very active, collecting the bonus seconds and mountain points.
- Kuznetsov is traditionally strong in this race and two years ago he was 7th in the final classification. So at the start of the race he had some ambitions and proved it by placing himself in the break. Viacheslav was very active, he won two intermediate sprints, collecting 6 bonus seconds. Later the break was caught, but that was enough for Kuznetsov to move into 3rd place in GC. Still all of the race is ahead, but we will ride it day by day. In general, our team was active today. Alongside Kuznetsov it was Maxim Belkov who tried an attack himself, but finally all was decided in the bunch sprint, - explained sports director Gennady Mikhaylov.
Stage 1 of the Tour de Wallonie started in Charleroi and finished in Mettet after 178,3 km of racing. Three riders, with Viacheslav Kuznetsov among them, went away in a daily breakaway, increasing their lead up to almost 6 minutes. But on the flat profile the peloton controlled the breakaway, neutralizing it with more or less 40 km to go. Despite a number of attacks on the final part of the race the stage ended with the massive sprint, won by Tom Boonen of Etixx – Quick Step. He outsprinted Jonas Van Genechten from IAM Cycling and Arnaud Démare of FDJ. Viacheslav Kuznetsov was the best KATUSHA’s rider with 14th place.
Tom Boonen became the first GC leader of the race, while Kuznetsov took 3rd place, 4 seconds behind the leader.
Tomorrow will be held the second stage of the race – 180 km from Saint-Ghislain to Le Roeulx.
Photo credit: (c) Tim De Waele