The race got off to a fast start with multiple breakaway attempts before, after 20 kilometers of racing, a four-man breakaway was formed and established a lead of over four minutes over the bunch with all seven CCC Team riders. As the breakaway entered the hardest part of the stage, which included seven category two hills, the peloton picked up the pace and reduced the gap to just two minutes with 100 kilometers to go.
The main group continued to push on and reeled in the breakaway with 78 kilometers to go, a catch that sparked new attacks with nobody able to go clear initially. Eventually, however, three riders managed to open up a 40-second lead but, they were also brought back, inside the final five kilometers.
This is when CCC Team took over and moved up to the front of the bunch to set up their sprinter, Mareczko for the finish. The Italian was led out perfectly and was in an ideal position with 300 meters to go, which helped him sprint to third place at the line.
Quotes from the Finish Line
„I’m happy with this nice start to the race but, obviously, in a bunch sprint you always try to go for the win. The team did a fantastic job today and we almost did a perfect lead-out. We entered the final kilometer well-positioned and I was sitting on Szymon’s wheel. He delivered me to the last 250 meters and this is when I launched my sprint. We were very close, maybe 20 meters away from the victory, so it’s disappointing but, we can be happy with our performance and we can look forward to the next stages.”
Jackson Stewart, Sports Director:
„We did a fantastic job today. The guys were already showing their form and hard work over the last few months at Grand Prix Cerami and now here, they were able to organize the lead-out for the final sprint very. It was a large open road sprint which is always a gamble but, the team positioned Mareczko the best they could and he was really contesting for the win. The team can be motivated for the next stages after racing well together like they did today.”
VOO Tour de Wallonie
Stage one Le Roeulx – Dottignies, 186.4km
Top 3: 1. Timothy Dupont (Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team) 2. Roy Jans (Corendon – Circus) 3. Jakub Mareczko (CCC Team)
CCC Team Top 3: 3. Jakub Mareczko 39. Szymon Sajnok 89. Nathan Van Hooydonck