Bad luck for Hodeg in Tour de Wallonie
A puncture took the Colombian neo-pro out of contention on the opening day of the five-stage race.
Quick-Step Floors were one of the team controlling the seven-man breakaway from the very outset of the 193.4km stage 1, allowing the seven escapees to build a 7:30 maximum gap before upping the pace and slowly but steadily chewing into the leaders' advantage and pegging them back to just three minutes as they entered on the first lap of the Les Bons Villers circuit.
Reeling in the escapees back didn't turn out to be a problem for the peloton, but the two cobblestone sectors that featured in the final kilometers were, fragmenting the bunch and hindering the chances of some favourites. One of these was neo-pro Alvaro Hodeg, a stage winner this season at Volta a Catalunya, who couldn't contest the bunch sprint anymore due to an untimely mechanical.
Following this incident, Quick-Step Floors changed the tactic and went on the attack with the experienced Pieter Serry, but despite taking two riders with him and equally sharing the workload to keep the pack at bay, they were reabsorbed with three kilometers to go and the stage came down to a sprint won by Romain Sicard (Direct Energie). Best placed rider of our team was Ecuadorian Champion Jhonatan Narvaez, who concluded the stage in 13th place.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images