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Wellens comes out on top in the Ruta del Sol

Vuelta a Andalucía winner Tim Wellens on the podium.
Vuelta a Andalucía winner Tim Wellens on the podium. / EFE
  • The Belgian finished nine places ahead of the Chris Froome whose puncture in the penultimate stage ruled him out the running

Belgian rider Tim Wellens picked up his first general classification victory of the year as he ran out overall winner of the Vuelta a Andalucía on Sunday. The 26-year-old stole the crown from under fire Brit Chris Froome, whose first race of the season ended in a tenth-place finish.

Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) managed to stave off the challenge of Mikel Landa (Movistar) and Wout Poels (Team Sky) (who started the day seven and 11 seconds behind, respectively) despite finishing 14 seconds behind stage winner David De La Cruz (Team Sky) in the final-day time trial in Barbate.

Team Sky's Chris Froome dropped out of overall contention during Saturday's tough uphill finish after a puncture toward the end of the stage from Seville to Alcalá de los Gazules (Cadiz) but despite this, the Brit was still the favourite for the final stage. However, he looked well off the pace and finished outside the top 10, but did enough to maintain tenth place in the overall standings.

“Expecting a bit better”

“Obviously I was coming here for my first race of the season and didn't know where the form was at,” said Froome, who had to endure a fair share of the spotlight given his ongoing investigation into his use of asthma drugs during last year's Vuelta a España. “This is all part of my build-up now towards my Giro d'Italia but I was probably expecting a little bit better.”

Wellens was joined on the podium by Wout Poels (Sky) and Movistar's Marc Soler.