Race report

Strong riding sees Felix Gall finish 9th on GC at Circuit des Ardennes

Circuit des Ardennes

The final day of racing in the Ardennes saw the peloton tackle two stages.

In the morning the riders would face a 60 kilometre long test that featured six KOMs, including a two kilometre long rise to the line. A group of three escaped early on and they would ultimately go on to contest the stage win, just holding on from the riders who were closing behind. One of those was Felix Gall who continued his good form at the race, picking up a ninth place finish, 12 seconds down on the stage winner. The result moved him into the top ten on GC before the afternoon’s final stage.

 

Team Sunweb coach Jelle de Jong talked through the stage: “With the uphill finish to the line, our goal this morning was to bring Felix into a good position so that he could compete for a good result. A break of three escaped and the GC leader’s team took control of the stage but those ahead managed to stay away for the stage win. The guys positioned Felix perfectly and he was strong enough to go with the best riders. It was a good job from the whole team and Felix moved up in GC to ninth as a result.” 

Gall was pleased with the teamwork on show: “It was a tricky run in to the final climb but the team did a really good job at positioning me for it. The climb itself was maybe a bit too punchy for me but I did my all I could do and moved up on the GC because of it.”

The second stage of the day was a flatter affair and formed a familiar pattern with a break escaping and the sprint teams controlling things behind. The original break was caught with 20 kilometres to go and there were a few counter attacks, including a few attacks from Gall, but nothing stuck and the bunch sprint finish was all but inevitable. Gall finished safely within the group and secured a 9th place on GC at the end of the race.

 

Gall added: “In the afternoon stage you could tell a lot of guys were tired so the peloton kept splitting on the small climbs. I gave it a try on the last two climbs but there was no interest from others to keep our group going.”

Speaking of the week as a whole Gall continued: “All in all we can look back on three good days of racing. There were some problems on the first day with our communication and staying together but after we discussed those points at the end of the stage we improved a lot for the following days. I’m happy with my form and the way we rode as a team over these three days.”