Gallopin narrowly helds off Vakoc to win the GP de Wallonie

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Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) took his first win since the 2015 Paris-Nice at the GP de Wallonie. After a powerful attack on the climb to the citadel in Namur, he held Petr Vakoc (Etixx-QuickStep) off by the tiniest of margins before Jerome Baugnies (Wanty) won the sprint for third.

The 56th edition of the GP de Wallonie was held on a pretty traditional 205.5km course that brought the riders from Beaufays on the outskirts of Liege to the Citadel in Namur. After a flat start, they headed into the Ardennes to tackle the early climbs of Cote de Saint-Hubet, Cote de Saint-Remacle and Cote de Werbomont after 31.3km, 44.8km and 59.1km respectively. The middle section of the race was pretty flat but things got much harder in the finale where three climbs in the final 50km preceded the final ascent to the citadel. First up as the Cote d’Emeton with 43.8km to go, then it was time for the Cote de Lustin 26.2km from the finish and the penultimate challenge was the Tienne aux Pierres with 18.4km to go. Finally, the riders tackled the final 2km climb that averaged 4.8%.

Gallopin already proved his class when he established a 7-rider group of favourites on the penultimate climb but then seemed to be out of the battle when the move was neutralized just as they hit the final 2km climb. However, he had kept something in reserve and with a powerful attack halfway up the climb, he dropped all his rivals. A furious chase of Petr Vakoc nearly paid off but Gallopin just had enough to hold the Czech off by mere centimetres.

GP de Wallonie 2016 results:

1 Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal)

5:06:17

2 Petr Vakoc (Etixx – Quick-Step)

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3 Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty – Groupe Gobert)

+01”

4 Huub Duijn (Roompot – Oranje Peloton)

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5 Nicolas Edet (Cofidis)

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6 Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal)

+04”

7 Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie Bruxelles)

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8 Rasmus Guldhammer (Stölting)

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9 Jonathan Hivert (Fortuneo – Vital Concept)

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10 Fabian Wegmann (Stölting)

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