Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tour des Pays de Savoie: Simon takes 2nd stage; Ignatiev holds firm

Saturday was a split day on the Tour des Pays de Savoie with the race having a short morning stage to Chatel followed by a short time trial that featured a descent then an uphill back into Chatel using the same finishing uphill used during the road stage.

The morning stage started from Morillon and while the last two days have been balls to the wall from the gun...well today wasn't different. Attacks were starting early on and with the stage only being 90 kilometers, there was no time to breath. It took all the way until 5 kilometers from the summit of the Col des Gets, the first climb on the day, for a successful breakaway to go. Vadim Deslandes (CC Nogent-sur-Oise) and Florian Dumourier (CR4C Roanne) were able to breakaway together and make it over the top ahead of the peloton.

A chase group of 6 was able to bridge with 30 kilometers to go. The group included Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Anthony Turgis (CC Nogent-sur-Oise), Loic Chetout and Romain Campistrous (France Espoirs), Anthony Perez (AVC Aix), Maxime Robert (CC Etupes) and Julian Duval (Roubaix-Lille Metropole) and they bridged up to Deslandes and Dumourier just before the last downhill until the long, shallow uphill to Chatel. This same run-up has been used in both the Giro Ciclistico della Valle d'Aosta and the Tour de l'Avenir within the last year.

Loic Chetout proceeded to snap his chain and his day was done. The break was disintegrating on the long steady climb and with 20 kilometers to go, it was Turgis who lept out of the group. The only 2 able to chase him were the original break partners Deslandes and Dumourier but Turgis was looking solid on the climb. With 10 kilometers to go, Turgis has 55 seconds on the chasing peloton. Even with 4 kilometers he had 26 seconds. 2 kilometers later, after Deslandes and Dumourier were swept up, Turgis had 16 seconds on the break as he got into Chatel. It wasn't to be.

Even with the small lead, Turgis died in the final kilometers. It was Louis Vervaeke, sitting in 3rd overall for Lotto-Belisol U23, who put in the attack. He was countered by Jordi Simon, who bridged up to the Belgian with Maxime Vantomme, and Simon just kept going. Simon, who was fresh off the stage 2 win, powered to the win for Team Ecuador aka Movistar South while Vervaeke and Vantomme came in a couple seconds ahead of the peloton, which was led in by David Belda (Burgos-BH). Vervaeke got a couple of seconds on leader Dmitriy Ignatiev but nothing much of consequence.

The race took a small break but was back in the afternoon for a short 9 kilometer time trial around Chatel that included a descent before climbing back up the same climb into Chatel that they used in the morning. Very original, this race. Anyways, doing a blow by blow of the time trial is pointless.

Getting to the meat of the action, ex-Euskaltel rider Miguel Minguez led for the longest and it wasn't until Louis Vervaeke broke his time that he was off the hot seat. Just behind Vervaeke, leader Ignatiev was able to protect his lead by beating Vervaeke by 2 seconds. The only big loser was Jesus Del Pino, who lost 34 seconds and ceded his 2nd place overall to Vervaeke.

It is still a three-horse race for the overall between Ignatiev and the challengers Vervaeke and Del Pino. Ignatiev still only has 2 teammates for assisting and he showed on the 2nd stage that he is vulnerable on the steepest climbs, where he lost time to both Vervaeke and Del Pino. This Glieres stages in no joke and I wouldn't be surprised if half of the field DNFs or is time cut. Yoann Barbas and Pierre-Roger Latour both sit around 2'30" back and while they have a long way to go, they could be looking at a podium placing if one of the top 3 has a bad day and cracks.

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