Suaza took the leader's jersey after stage 1 after finishing in the lead group with a trio of Colpack riders but lost in on stage 2 when Manuel Senni went on a daring attack on Les Marecottes to take over the lead. While a breakaway ruled the day yesterday in terms of the stage victory, Suaza struck on Senni to take back the leader's jersey. While Dylan Teuns (BMC Development) took the stage win after a brilliant solo attack, Suaza came in with Norwegian Odd Christian Eiking 15 seconds ahead of Senni. Suaza was able take back yellow while Senni was back into 2nd place with Eiking in 3rd.
The decider was going to be the final stage, which was this morning's time trial in Morillon, Savoie, France. While just a little over 5 kilometers in length, the course was straight uphill to the Morillon hamlet of Les Esserts and would be deciding the overall winner for the race.
Rain was on tap for the uphill test but after nearly a whole week of burning legs, the rain probably felt nice on the skin. I find myself lacking when it comes to writing about time trials. I've ridden a few. They hurt like hell and I felt like all of my muscles were slowly roasting while my lungs were burning to keep up the pace. Adding that this is an uphill course, I'm sure everyone was suffering properly.
Simone Andreetta was originally the quickest rider on the day but there was a good reason for that, which the judges found out just after the finish. Andreetta, at some point, cut the course and while he had won by 20 seconds it was obviously by cheating, whether intentional or not. Andreetta was DQed and now shows as a DNF for the race, which is a shame.
Ildar Arslanov is turning out to be a bit of a uphill time trial specialist. The Russian clocked a time of 13'57", which was just over a blazing 23 km/h. The Russian, at least to me, was a bit disappointing here. He had shown such promise at the Ronde de l'Isard, where he was 5th on the 1st stage, but had to caddy for his leader Alexander Foliforov, who had bit the dust the next day in the sleeting rain to Bagneres de Luchon. This certainly makes up for the rest of his race here and hopefully he can string a few more good races together this year.
In 2nd, Oskar Svendsen came in 6 seconds down on Arslanov. Svendsen has had an okay race. The first two mountains days, he was back in the pack a bit but he came out for 14th on stage 3, which was right behind Manuel Senni, the overall leader. Svendsen is a major work in progress. Obviously his engine is huge but when he doesn't have good pack skills and is pretty inexperienced. It would be like having a 600 horsepower Mercedes yet you have to stay in 3rd gear and always seem to be stuck in traffic. So getting 2nd here...a good sign.
Our leader Bernardo Suaza, who was top 10 in the opening uphill prologue, was able to slot into 3rd place just 9 seconds behind Arslanov. There is no better way to win the GC than winning at the front and Suaza extended his lead on 2nd place. Speaking of 2nd overall, Manuel Senni put in a good time trial by his standards for 13th place but Odd Eiking, sitting in 3rd, blew him out of the water by 26 seconds, dropping the Italian to 3rd overall.
Stage Results (Full Results)
- Ildar Arslanov (Russia)
- Oksar Svendsen (Norway) +6"
- Bernardo Suaza (4-72 Colombia) +9"
- Odd Eiking (Norway) +19"
- Giulio Ciccone (Colpack) +21"
- Silvio Herklotz (Stolting) +29"
- Felix Grossschartner (Gourmetfein-Simplon) +32"
- Bram Van Broekhoven (VL Technics) +39"
- Juan Felipe Osorio (4-72 Colombia) s.t.
- Edward Ravasi (Colpack) +42"
- Eiking +33"
- Manuel Senni (Colpack) +46"
- Ravasi +1'15"
- Sindre Lunke (Norway) +1'41"
- Ciccone +2'29"
- Paolo Bianchini (Delio Gallina) +2'31"
- Daniel Pearson (Zappi's) +4'05"
- Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Astana CT) +4'34"
- Floris De Tier (EFC-OPQS) s.t.
Points: Manuel Senni (Colpack)
Sprints: Marco Chianese (Pala Fenice)
Youth (1st year): Simone Ravanelli (Pala Fenice)
Stayed tuned for another wrap-up post on the Giro della Valle d'Aosta with some more thoughts on the race within the next day or so.