Lobato’s never-ending consistency
26 July 2014

Tour de Wallonie (st. 1)

Andalusian sprinter from Movistar Team takes eighth podium finish in 2014 at Tournai's opening sprint in the Tour de Wallonie, after attacks by Sütterlin in final section

Picture (c): Marc Van Hecke / www.sportfoto.be (via Directvelo)

A short, flat 147km parcours from Frasnes to Tournai, the opening stage in the 35th Tour de Wallonie (2.HC), saw Juanjo Lobato coming close for the eighth time in 2014 to a first victory in Movistar Team colours.

Only Belgian champion Jens Debusschere (LTB), first race leader in the country’s French-speaking region, and Gianni Meersman (OPQ) could beat the telephone squad’s top sprinter. The Blues, absent into the three-man escape that led almost the whole stage, seeked for the late attacks with German youngster Jasha Sütterlin, without success.

A similar menu, with no less than six climbs -including the Côte de la Citadelle in the capital, Namur- in the second part of the 193km course from Péronnes to Perwez, yet with flat roads in the finale, should offer a second chance to Lobato -counting on the 4″ bonus taken today for third overall- and his team-mates.