Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tour de l'Avenir Stage 7: Mamykin takes finale; Soler overall

After two hard days in the mountains, the Tour de l'Avenir finished off with a short but sweet stage that included for 4 climbs including a summit finish on the Les Sybelles climb. The race itself was more about who could hang on as riders were dropping like flies throughout the day and many GC hopefuls that were looking to keep a high overall position fell by the wayside.

The race had literally a couple of kilometers of flat before they starting going up the Col du Mollard, which is roughly 18 kilometers in length but only 5.7% gradient. Right out of the gate, stage 6 winner Elie Gesbert launched an attack but it was short-lived. He would pay for it later as he was dropped and forced to retire. Approaching the top of the Mollard, the leading group was down to just 13 riders including overall leader Marc Soler as well as others such as De Plus, Haig, Sebastian Henao, among others. 1 kilometer from the top, Henao attacked and the remnants of the group exploded as they started the the descent to Belleville for the Croix de Fer climb.

Henao was trying to make up for a disappointing Tour de France by going for a long range attack with three climbs left. Originally, he got away with teammate Aldemar Reyes and the gap got up to 2'10" On the Croix de Fer, Henao went away on his own and the yellow jersey group behind him was splitting up. 2nd overall Laurens De Plus was dropped along with Gregor Mühlberger, Sam Oomen, Sindre Lunke and Guillaume Martin. Henao had nearly 3 minutes over the top of the Croix de Fer and began to plummet down into the Maurienne valley.

On the Lacets de Montvernier, Sam Oomen attacked out of the yellow jersey group and behind him, Mühlberger, Matvey Mamykin and Daniel Martinez emerged as chasers. On the short, steep Montvernier climb, Soler made the jump to the chasing group while 3rd overall Jack Haig was in the chasing group behind. Once on the descent of the Montvernier climb, Haig descended like a stone and was able to get up to the yellow jersey group while 2nd place overall De Plus saw his legs implode for good. Simone Petilli put it best in his post stage interview with DirectVelo when he said, "The tactics of the Italians today? What tactics? You just had to save your skin!"

On the final climb to Les Sybelles, Henao was at the end of his rope. Just a couple of kilometers into the climb, he was caught and the lead group suddenly became just four as Oomen was dropped. Soon after, Mühlberger was the next victim and it was a trio up front with Soler, Haig and Mamykin, who had won the queen stage from the Giro della Valle d'Aosta. Soler was content with keeping the group together as his overall lead was more or less in tact as Haig was his closest challenger over 1 minute back overall.

Soler Power
Photo: Vianney Thibaut/Agence Zoom
In the final kilometers, Mamykin and Haig accelerated away from the Spaniard Soler but the Movistar rider was content as his overall lead wouldn't be touched. It was the Russian who took his 2nd big win of the season while Haig capped a successful week with 2nd while Soler was celebrating over the line to take his biggest win to date.

The rest of the field came over in dribs and drabs as Oomen and Mühlberger limited their losses to just 55 seconds while the Italian duo of Giulio Ciccone and Simone Petilli came across next at nearly two minutes down.

The final podium including UCI Prez Brian Cookson
Photo: Vianney Thibaut/Agence Zoom
The full results for the stage can be found here. The biggest loser on the day was De Plus, who dropped from 2nd to 8th overall after losing 5 minutes to Soler. Sindre Lunke also had an off day after having big gains on Friday. Mamykin and Oomen both moved up with the Russian having a fantastic day to step up to the final podium step behind Soler and Haig.

Guillaume Martin, the winner of stage 5, was awarded the super combative prize for the race. Mamykin pulled a coup in the KOM classification thanks to his exploits on the final stage and pulled out the classification by 2 points on Martin. Jonas Koch survived the stage by finishing nearly 25 minutes down on the leaders but his survival meant that he was awarded the points jersey for the race. Russia dominated the teams classification by beating Italy by over 16 minutes and won for their 2nd consecutive year.

The Tour de l'Avenir is done for another year. It was a brutal edition with only 77 out of 126 starters finishing the race but the cream certainly rose to the top. The formula of backloading the mountains perhaps scared off some of the best U23 talent but the mountain stages in this edition were certainly spectacular. Look out for a wrap-up post on Espoirs Central.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Tour de l'Avenir Stage 6: Another Repeat; Soler into yellow

After a rather nasty crash in the Tour de l'Ain that saw Elie Gesbert get thrown into a barb-wire fence and having to drop out of the race, the young Breton from the Côtes-d'Armor was worried his Tour de l'Avenir would be out the window. However the injuries were not as bad as there were thought and Gesbert was on the bike the next day. Gesbert was a gifted junior who has taken the slow approach to development by staying with a Division 3 team, Pays de Dinan, in France and then riding select races with the national team.

Gesbert sipping on a coffee 
While his GC hopes were gone, Gesbert attacked on the Col du Madeleine and went on a solo adventure just like his teammate Jeremy Maison did yesterday on the Col du Pre. First year U23 Daniel Martinez (Colombia) attacked the peloton and went on chasing, which he would be for the entirety of the climb. Gesbert was on a flier and was holding off Martinez, who is consistently the better climber, while the peloton was shredding behind. Sam Oomen, who seemed to be suffering from back pain, was dropped fairly hard while Jack Haig was also distanced on the biggest climb of the Tour de l'Avenir.

Gesbert went solo over the top and on the descent off the Madeleine, he extended his lead over Martinez to over a minute. Haig and a few others were able to join the chasing peloton but as soon as this happened, Alex Peters (GB) attacked. He was chasing in search of Martinez and Gesbert however the long false flat of the Maurienne valley was wearing on the solo chasers. With 30 kilometers to go, both Martinez and Peters were caught and the gap to Gesbert was falling. The Frenchman found some luck with...a horse. A horse escaped its enclosure and was running alongside the front peloton, which slowed them down until they were able to drop the horse. The gap went from around 2'30" to 4 minutes and grew to a maximum of nearly 5 minutes before the final Beau Plan climb.

On the climb, attacks were launching from the group including Anders Skaarseth, Benjamin Declercq and eventually Sebastian Henao and Marc Soler. This saw overnight leader Gregor Mühlberger get dropped like a stone and he was soon followed by Aleksey Rybalkin and stage 5 winner Guillaume Martin. After a reshuffle, it was Soler who was the lead chaser to Gesbert and towards the top of the Beau Plan, he was taking chunks of time out of the Frenchman while behind Soler, Laurens De Plus had attacked the group and was chasing solo.

What had been a four minute gap near the beginning of the climb was down to 55 seconds at the summit as Gesbert began the twisty descent alone. Not much after the descent began, De Plus caught Soler while Gesbert was streaking to the win. Gesbert crossed the finish line alone after a beautiful attack that saw him ride solo for over 80 kilometers. Soler and De Plus came in very close together at 40 and 42 seconds behind Gesbert. Haig and Sindre Lunke got clear near the top of the Madeleine and bombed the descent to finish just 1'07" behind Gesbert.

Simone Petilli and Giulio Ciccone came in together with Skaarseth and Matvey Mamykin but their GC hopes seem to be over, at least in terms of the win. Sebastian Henao can be thrown in there as well as he was nearly 2'30" down on Gesbert but Sam Oomen recovered spectacularly from his earlier falter on the Madeleine to finish right behind Henao.

After his impressive ride yesterday on the La Rosiere climb, Marc Soler took over the yellow jersey and will be wearing it into the final stage tomorrow with a good cushion on 2nd place Laurens De Plus, who is 1'01" back on the Spaniard. Haig rises to 3rd overall and Lunke up to 4th while Petilli and Ciccone are sitting 5th and 6th.

Soler is a World Tour rider and if he does end up winning the race, it will be considered a hollow win by some. He had nearly 50 racing days this year before l'Avenir with Movistar in UCI races are .1 or over. To mitigate a long rant, if you have the talent to get signed with a World Tour team, you shouldn't be racing l'Avenir. Because of this, Laurens De Plus is looking bound to get his third 2nd place overall in the three major U23 stage races this season as he was 2nd in the Ronde de l'Isard and Valle d'Aosta.

While Guillaume Martin lost his 2nd place overall heading into the stage, he kept the KOM jersey while Jonas Koch is still in the green jersey.

While it was apparent yesterday, Lennard Kämna isn't here for the GC after losing nearly 20 minutes today. Others that lost any shot at GC include Mühlberger, Martinez, Odd Eiking, Ildar Arslanov, Aleksey Rybalkin and Edward Ravasi. Eiking is increasingly looking like a rider that can be inconsistent in the high mountains, which is something FDJ will need to work or get him concentrated elsewhere.

Full Results can be found here

Many teams are trying to make it through the end of the race. Estonia is down to just one rider in Josten Vaidem while Australia, the USA, the UCI Mixed Team and Great Britain are all down to just two riders. Tomorrow's short but sweet finish might be the death knell for some riders.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tour de l'Avenir Stage 5: Martin Masters Mountains

Alliteration, my friend, you never get old. The mountains have made their presence felt in the Tour de l'Avenir already and there are still two days to go. This was basically a re-run of stage 6 from last year's race except the mountains were in a little bit different order but the finish on the La Rosiere climb was the same.

The Russians were hitting the trainers before the stage. Always an indicator of a short, brutal stage
Photo Directvelo
The race started off quick and it hit many of the non-climbers hard. German Chaves was feeling frisky and attacked his breakaway mates on the opening Col du Saisies and was able to make it last until the top of the climb. Following a the descent off the climb, there was a re-shuffle and Frenchman Jeremy Maison went on one of his patented long range attacks and went solo on the Col du Pre. The climb, which was nearly 13 kilometers in length and nearly 8% average, was Maison's playground and the Frenchman gap grew. It went from 30 seconds to a minute to a maximum of around 1'45". Teammate Guillaume Martin and Gianni Moscon broke away and began chasing Maison.

Maison made it over the top of the Col du Pre alone but shortly after he began the descent, he proceeded to fall off his bike and break his collarbone. So much for a long range win. With Team France's main climbing threat now in the team car, Guillaume Martin took up the impetus. Now at the head of affairs, the Frenchman attacked on the short side of the Cormet de Roselend and proceeded to go over the top of the climb solo.

Once at the bottom of the descent, the main chasing group decided to shoot itself in the foot. Martin was plugging along while the group of favorites was simply done chasing apparently and the gap ballooned from 45 seconds to 2 minutes. The first action came from German Chaves, Simone Petilli (Italy) and Gregor Muhlberger (Austria) and once on the final climb, it was soon Muhlberger and Petilli chasing alone in search of Martin. The La Rosiere climb is fairly consistent at 6% with the final kilometers even more so. The kilometers were ticking down and the duo were getting closer. With the red kite, Martin only had a 30 second advantage and Muhlberger laid down an impressive attack to drop Petilli.

Muhlberger was streaking and Martin seemed to be going in slow motion comparitively. Muhlberger was looking like he would catch Martin just before the line but the Austrian was directed off course with less than 500 meters to go, which gave Martin some breathing room. Muhlberger recovered and while the Frenchman took the impressive win, Muhlberger finished 6 seconds down and was able to take the yellow jersey. Marc Soler (Spain) attacked out of the peloton and ended up passing Petilli just before the line for 3rd, 39 seconds down.

The main group consisted of 11 riders and was led home by Colombian Daniel Martinez and Giulio Ciccone, who came across 1'23" back while Sebastian Henao, the pre-race favorite for many, was tailed off and finished 14 seconds behind the group.

More to follow later but here are the full results for now.

Tour de l'Avenir: State of the Race & Mountains Preview

The mountains are upon the Tour de l'Avenir and let's do a quick recap so that everyone is aware of the state of the race before all hell breaks loose.

Denmark has won 4 out of 5 stages, so far

...but I wouldn't expect to see them much anymore. They have one climber in Patrick Olesen but even he wasn't in the front group after being split off on the descent on the finish to Cluses. So if you are thinking the Danes will take over the French Alps, then think again.

Most GC riders are within earshot

Riders that will be contesting GC are within distance so the race is still wide open. If starting with Spaniard Julen Amezqueta as the first GC favorite (currently 4th overall at +1'22"), then it is just 42 seconds back to Aleksey Rybalkin (Russia), who was 3rd here last year. Many are looking to be in form so keep your head's up because the attacks will be flowing.

Colombia looks to be strong

...but they aren't a leviathan. They only had two riders in the front group today in Sebastian Henao and Daniel Martinez while German Chavez and Aldemar Reyes were both 2'15" down while potential GC hopeful Rodrigo Contreras was a massive 25 minutes down.

And now, onto the remaining stages...

Stage 5

For a race that had more or less been devoid of mountains, this is going to be a punch in the testicles for some riders. On a course that is just 103 kilometers, roughly 48 of them are uphill. The amount of true flat ground might be around 2 kilometers.

The climbs include, as follows:

Col de Saisies - 13.6 kilometers at 5%
Col du Pré - 12.7 kilometers at 7.7%
Cormet de Roselend - 6 kilometers at 6.3% (the backside of a giant climb)
La Rosiere-Montvalezan - 16 kilometers at 6%

This stage might sound familiar to those acute followers because the same finishing climb as well as the Saisies and Roselend were used in stage 6 of last year's race, which was won by eventual overall winner Miguel Angel Lopez (Colombia). It will be a short but brutal stage that will show any chinks that one might have.

Stage 6

Just two big climbs in this stage that starts from Bourg-Saint-Maurice, which is at the foot of the La Rosiere climb. The gem of this stage is the Col de Madeleine, which has featured in the Tour de France 25 times and is one of the biggest climbs in the Alps at nearly 25 kilometers in length with an average gradient of 6.1%. The climb reaches a maximum of 11% for a stretch while there are extended spots with gradients over 8%.

Following the Madeleine, the race heads back down into the valley and takes in a long false-flat stretch that goes into Saint Martin De-La-Porte, which begins the Col de Beau Plan. The climb heads up for over 10 kilometers at a 6.7% grade before descending right back down into the valley through a slew of hairpins into the hamlet of Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, which is the same town that the Col du Telegraphe (to the Col du Galibier) takes off from.

It is certainly a stage that could see a breakaway however if a rider wants to test a descent and scare some people, this is a good place to do it on.

Stage 7

Taking off from Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, the race's final stage gets off to a quick start as the just 3.4 kilometers after the official start, the race starts to go up the Col du Mollard, which is 18 kilometers in length and averages 5.7% gradient. The Mollard is a nice scenic climb that will whittle down the group before a quick descent to Belleville. From there, it is uphill to the "start" of the categorized Col de la Croix de Fer at Saint-Sorlin-d'Arves however it is all uphill from Belleville. The road surface from Belleville to Saint-Sorlin-d'Arves, unless recently repaved, is quite horrible and could catch a few out. Once the climb officially begins, it is 7 kilometers to the summit at a gradient of 8% and over 2000 meters in altitude.

Will over at Cycling Challenge has a nice breakdown of this set of climbs

Then it is a long descent off the the Croix de Fer before coming into Sainte-Marie-De-Cuines, where the riders will tackle the famed Lacets des Montvernier, which were in the Tour de France this year and were heaven for any lover of hairpins. The climb is broken down well by Cycling Challenge and is a very steep climb at an average of 9% while just over 3 kilometers.

Following this climb, it is back down to the Maurienne valley to the town of Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne and the steep ending to a big three days. The climb is 9.5 kilometers with an average of 7% gradient however the last few kilometers have a good kick to them. It is a summit finish and if there are still any GC gains to be made, the cards must be put on the table.

And these 4 climbs are all within 93.5 kilometers. Just in case it wasn't jammed in their enough for you.

All the profiles can be found on the Tour de l'Avenir website however they don't go into great amounts of detail. Cycling Challenge has good write ups on many of the Alpine climbs here as well as many others and you can always go to places such as Strava or climbbybike to get some good profiles.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tour de l'Avenir Stage 4: Stuck on Repeat

With the mountains backloaded in this year's edition of the Tour de l'Avenir, most teams went with a climbing heavy roster that lacked big-time sprinters and rouleurs. I say most teams because Danish National coach Morten Bennekou went in the complete opposite direction and brought a team filled with riders that are most comfortable on the flats and small hills bar one in Patrick Olesen. This gamble has paid off in spades and continued on the 4th stage of the Tour de l'Avenir, where the race finally entered into the Haute Savoie department and got a taste of what is to come.

The majority of the stage was quite flat and it was a very quick pace for the first two hours, which averaged 45 km/h. Crashes were a unwelcome presence in what has been an otherwise incident free race so far. Harry Carpenter hit the deck with a few others including Mikhel Raim, Daniel Paulus and Gracjan Szelag and all but Paulus were forced out of the race. Others that dropped out today included Freddy Ovett (Australia), Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands), Michael Paluta (Poland), Illya Klepikov (Ukraine) and Oskar Nisu (Estonia).
It took nearly an hour for the main breakaway to get away and their gap never got too out of hand. The group included Dries Van Gestel (Belgium), Jan Dieteren (Germany), Joao Rodrigues (Portugal), Anders Skaarseth (Norway), Ziga Rucigaj (Slovenia), Gian Friesecke (Switzerland), Théry Schir (Switzerland), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Denmark), Julien Amezqueta (Spain) and Christofer Jurado (UCI/Panama). The group never got over a two minute gap and heading into the first pass of the Col du Chatillon-sur-Cluses, they had barely over 1 minute. On the first climb, Friesecke and Rucigaj were shelled.

After the first climb, the Colombia led peloton let off the gas and the gap went back out to two minutes. Unhappy with the state of affairs, Giulio Ciccone (Italy) launched an attack and eventually drew out Liege-Bastogne-Liege U23 winner Guillaume Martin to pursue the breakaway. On the 2nd pass of the climb, this attack saw an acceleration from the peloton and saw race leader Tom Bohli (Switzerland) get dropped. Ciccone and Martin were within 30 seconds at one point but were hauled back in just before the KOM summit, where the gap went out a bit again.

The KOM split the breakaway with Mads Würtz Schmidt (Denmark), Julien Amezqueta (Spain), Anders Skaarseth (Norway) and Dries Van Gestel (Belgium) getting a gap and starting the descent together. Dieteren, Rodrigues and Schir were chasing behind but were eventually swept up by the chasing peloton inside the final couple of kilometers.

Scream and Shout! Mads Würtz is on a comeback season and this is just another exclamation point
Photo: James Startt/Agence Zoom
The quartet stuck it out and for the 4th time in 5 days, it was a Dane that took out the win. Mads Würtz won the sprint ahead of Dries Van Gestel (Belgium) and Anders Skaarseth (Norway) to make up for his close 2nd on stage 1. Stage 1 winner Jonas Koch led the peloton home 24 seconds later ahead of Gianni Moscon (Italy) and Fabian Grellier (France).

Bohli lost the overall lead to a rider that many thought would just be pack fill. Chilean Jose Luis Rodriguez (UCI World Cycling Centre) finished in the main chase group with his teammate Caio Godoy (Brazil) but thanks to his part in the breakaway on stage 2, he took the race lead over from Bohli and now leads the race by 4 seconds on Spaniard Imanol Estevez. This is the first time ever that a rider from the UCI World Cycling Centre has led the Tour de l'Avenir overall and if I'm not mistaken, led a UCI race overall. A groundbreaking moment for the UCI team, which takes riders from countries that do not have an established development program, and hopefully it is a sign of more things to come.

Rodriguez will wear the yellow jersey on the first big mountain stage of the Tour de l'Avenir but unless an act of god happens, he will most likely cede the jersey. Aksel Nommela leads the points classification but Jonas Koch tightened it up to just a 9 point lead while Mads Würtz took over the KOM jersey from Estevez.

This Danish team is officially the most successful Tour de l'Avenir team since the race went to an all-U23 set-up in 2007 and will most likely not be touched for a while. They read the field right and their willingness to go for the flatter stages paid off. They aren't angels because they do have a pro in their ranks in Mads Pedersen but to think that they could do this much is pretty incredible.

Würtz himself was with CULT last year but they let him go after battling with injuries and rocky form. This year has been a comeback year and the last month has been incredible with the time trial win in the Tour of Denmark and now his success here. With CULT being saved for next year with their recent merger with Stölting, Würtz could be have a home for next year in the pro ranks.

Full results can be found here

Tour de l'Avenir Stage 4 Preview

Stage 4 Annemasse to Cluses (146.7 kilometers)

The end of the flat stages are upon us with the first big climbs of the Tour de l'Avenir. Big might be a bit of hyperbole and the plural might not be necessary as the race is using the same climb twice in a row albeit the 2nd time up the climb, the Col de la Chatillon-sur-Cluses, starts lower down and adds a few extra kilometers of distance but doesn't move the average gradient.

The race begins in Annemasse, which featured Tour de l'Avenir stage finishes in 2000 and 2012, where the winners were retired Belorussian Aliksandr Usau and Austrian Lukas Pöstlberger, respectively. The race takes in the foothills of the Haute Savoie department, which is the notch in southeastern France that follows the curve of Lake Geneva.

The climb the race takes in is the Col du Chatillon-sur-Cluses, which averages roughly 5%. The race enters the finishing circuit about halfway up the climb and only climbs for 5.5 kilometers from La Rivere-Enverse to the summit. The race then descends back into Cluses, with 13 kilometers being between the summit and the finish line. The race then takes in the full climb, which is 9 kilometers, but still only has a 5% gradient.

The sprinters will most likely not survive this finishing circuit however it shouldn't be a race just for climbers. If a rider like Gianni Moscon or Mathieu van der Poel is feeling good, they can sprint or even breakaway from other riders. Is Fernando Gaviria able to handle climbs that aren't too steep? Will a rider like Laurens De Plus attack the pedals off the bike and try to take some time? The road will decide.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tour de l'Avenir Stage 3: No Sprints For You!

Those stupid sprint Nazis always getting in the way of a good time. One of the motifs from the first half of the race is that it has been impossible for the bunch to stay together to sprint for a win. Stage 1 saw a long solo breakaway, Jonas Koch, survive to take a beautiful win just ahead of the bunch. Stage 2 saw the frist echelon of the peloton get close to the breakaway but then backed off the gas and the breakaway took the day with professional Mads Pedersen taking the sprint. Today, the bunch was together with just 15 kilometers to go and without too much difficulty on tap, it seemed like a sprint was emminent. But let's no spoil the story, let's go back to the morning.

Leaving from the Pearl of the Jura, Champagnole, the race saw Ukranian Timur Maleev become the first rider to drop out of the race. The first attack was from Geoffrey Curran (USA) and Daniel Martinez (Colombia) but was brought back fairly quickly before unlikely breakaway Fernando Gaviria (Colombia) went away on his own. The Colombian is known for his sprinter exploits on the road decided to get up the road and his gap stayed fairly modest. He went over the first KOM alone while behind, leader Imanol Estevez consolidated his lead by going 2nd.

The gap went out as Gaviria was solo on the 2nd climb and got up to nearly 4 minutes advantage. While Gaviria got max points again, Estevez went out for the 2nd place points again to keep the jersey for another day. Following the climb, Gaviria's teammate Aldemar Reyes and Patryk Stosz (Poland) went out alone in search of the Colombian.

The bunch, who were gunning for a sprint, took the gap down to just over a minute while Reyes and Stosz were able to join Gaviria with 50km to go. The gap was coming down steadily for the intermediate sprint and the breakaway was scooped up just before Aksel Nommela (Estonia) took the sprint out ahead of Koch and breakaway straggler Stosz. Nommela was able to take the green points jersey from Koch with the sprint.

Small groups tried to get away but once David Per was brought back with 17 kilometers to go, all hell broke loose. With the speed dialed up to 11 and with just a little more than 10 kilometers to go, a move of 5 riders including prologue winner Soren Kragh Andersen (Denmark), Marlen Zmorka (Ukraine), Johannes Weber (Germany), Gasper Katrasnik (Slovenia) and Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) snuck away and were able to take time from the peloton. The gap was never over 20 seconds but with a peloton that is heavily climber focused and without motivated teams for the sprinters, no one was able to weld the peloton back together for the final bunch sprint.

Kragh Andersen soaking it in. Notice the hefty bandage on van der Poel's knee while Katrasnik was resigned to turn off his SRM.
Zmorka tried a move within 2 kilometers but was brought back by his breakaway mates, who were still holding off a steaming peloton. In the end, Soren Kragh Andersen emerged victorious with the sprint ahead of van der Poel and Weber while Gaviria, who was in the breakaway for the majority of the day, won the sprint for 6th place just 7 seconds back ahead of Nommela and Simone Consonni (Italy), who won the bunch sprint on stage 1.

Swiss rider Tom Bohli was able to hold onto the overall lead. As stated earlier, Nommela will wear the green jersey and Estevez will hold onto the KOM jersey.

It still seems inexplicable how there were zero bunch sprints in the races three flat stages that suited bunch sprints. With teams focused on the later climbs and many sprinters being left home, teams that had riders that were possible hopefuls were reluctant to waste riders before the mountains. Teams that had nothing to lose including Denmark, Slovenia and Ukraine, who have no major climbers that will be affecting GC, attacked the finale with great results.

Full Results can be found here