Quinten Hermans (Telenet Fidea) won stage 4 of the Tour de Wallonie, also moving into the overall lead of the race thanks to the 10 bonus seconds he received with today’s stage win. Lorenzo Manzin (Vital Concept) finished in 2nd place on the stage with Romain Cardis (Direct Energie) taking 3rd.
Stage 4 of the Tour de Wallonie was not quite as difficult as the previous two stages but our African Team still hoped there would be enough of a selection to compete for the stage win, and move Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier up the overall GC. The early racing saw 9 riders go clear of the peloton with Lotto-Soudal controlling the pace.
Our African Team was waiting for the back end of the stage where 3 short climbs in the final 15km allowed for some attacking. As the climbs approached, a few riders bridged the minute gap to the leaders but their lack of cooperation saw them all caught on the first of the 3 climbs.
The climbs were steep but short and not really suiting Ghebreigzabhier, Ben O’Connor and Lachlan Morton’s capabilities. The first of the 3 climbs was the shortest but also the steepest, positioning was important but unfortunately our African Team was caught out and could not take advantage on the climb.
Fortunately, despite attacks from Quickstep on the climb, the race pretty much stayed together under the control of Lotto-Soudal. For our trio in the lead group, it just became about finishing with the front group in the end, which they were able to do as Hermans took the sprint victory.
Gino Van Oudenhove – Sport Director
We were up there at the end with Amanuel, Lachlan and Ben after a hard last 30km. We definitely missed an opportunity today though as were too defensive in our positioning into the finish. We spoiled a chance for a top result today and now we have just one chance remaining with tomorrow’s final stage.