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Christophe Laporte won the 61st edition of the Grand Prix de Wallonie on Wednesday after a grueling 208.1 km race between Aywaille and the top of the Citadel of Namur. On top of the field after a strong sprint, he edged his compatriot Warren Barguil and Belgian Tosh van der Sande. Winner of the Circuit de Wallonie in May, the Frenchman therefore offers himself a Walloon double this season to sign the 21st success of his career.
If it was a sprint, this GP of Wallonia will have kept all its promises with a movement race in the final. The peloton picked up the pace just before tackling the first of two laps on the local circuit some 80 kilometers from the finish. While Sylvain Moniquet and Steff Cras were victims of a fall, Jelle Vanendert had to let go and greet the peloton for the last time. The 36-year-old Belgian climber was competing in the last race of his career on Wednesday.
In the following kilometers, frequent attacks helped to eliminate runners. Schelling, Wellens, Vanmarcke, Politt, Benoot, Campenaerts. Here are the riders who tried to disrupt the peloton before the first passage through the Citadel of Namur.
►►► To read also: Jelle Vanendert, the day when “The extra” became “L’As des as”
The unsuccessful attempts were continued for the next few miles with a team, Israel Start-Up Nation, in charge of bringing order to the joyous chaos.
Ben Hermans and Sep Vanmarcke’s side managed to calm things down until 25 km from the finish. Campenaerts, Paret-Peintre and Benoot then tried their luck. Without success. Van Wilder, Konrad, Barguil and Gogl also wanted to anticipate but were not happier.
It was therefore about thirty riders who came to the foot of the Citadel of Namur to compete for victory. Xandro Meurisse’s offensive 2.5 km from the finish was also short-lived. He may have pushed the plug a bit far, Meurisse.
Resumed a kilometer later, the rider of the Alpecin-Fenix team gave way to a strong sprint where Laporte, more powerful, clearly won.
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