While the last stage of the 2015 Ronde de l'Isard appeared to be daunting with 3 big Pyreneean ascent, the cream of the crop stayed together for the most part and the podium remained status quo.
The day started off with a large breakaway that was spearheaded by American TJ Eisenhart, who was trying to make up for some off days earlier in the race. Eisenhart got away on the lower slopes of the Col de Port and was joined shortly after by Paul Sauvage (CR4C Roanne), who has shown himself to be a fiesty rider that was in and out of breakaways all week. Sauvage would take enough points to secure the KOM jersey.
The duo worked well together and made it up the majority of the Col d'Agnes until shortly before the summit, they were joined by a group of 4 others including Dries Van Gestel (Lotto-Soudal), Leo Vincent (CC Etupes), Loic Bouchereau (Vendee U) and Mathias Le Turnier (Oceane Top 16). The sextet went ovet the summit together and plunged back down into the valley in pursuit of the final climb, the Col de la Core.
At the bottom of the climb, Van Gestel started to push the pace and Eisenhart, fatigued from his early efforts, was distanced. The breakaway slowly broke apart as Van Gestel and Vincent showed themselves as the strongest two climbers. While the duo worked well together, riders were throwing in attacks in the yellow jersey group to try and break things up. David Gaudu (Cotes d'Armor) was trying to make up for an off stage 2 and did his best to attempt a bridge on the Col de la Core but was stuck in no man's land for the majority of the climb. Race leader Simone Petilli and 2nd place Laurens De Plus (Lotto-Soudal) were comfortably the best two climbers in the race as they distanced everyone else when the pace kicked up. The only exception here was impressive first year U23 Aurelien Paret-Peintre (Chambery CF), who made contact with the duo and stayed with them for the remained of the race.
Up front, it was Vincent who bombed the descent and put time into Van Gestel but the Belgian was able to claw his was back up front. Roughly a minute behind was Bouchereau, who was trying his best to come to terms but he would spend the remainder of his race in no-man's land. The two came into the sprint and it was Vincent who took out the sprint and capped off an impressive week for CC Etupes. Bouchereau clawed back nearly all of the deficit but came in 6 seconds down on the leading two. Laurens De Plus led in the yellow jersey group to wrap up the points jersey.
For more analysis, hold on for a Ronde de l'Isard wrap-up post that will be coming in the next day or so.