Saturday, July 13, 2013

Valle d'Aosta Stage 3: Toniatti wins; Garby in yellow but lead shrinks

On a transitional but still uphill stage, it was yet another brutal day for the racers at the Giro Ciclistico della Valle d'Aosta. While the course only had 3 categorized climbs, there was an uphill drag back into the start town of Châtel and after the previous two monster days, there were tired legs to contend with as well. To add some more crazy to the day, a 15 man breakaway took off int the first kilometers of the stage and put race leader Marc Christian Garby (Team General Store) on the back heel once again.

The race transitioned to the French town of Châtel, a small hamlet in the Rhône-Alpes region that is popular as a ski resort, for the first of two stages around the area. The race, like many other Italian stage races, was low on funds and found a partner in the town's government to keep the race healthy. It also helps that home region team Chambery CF is in the race along with a Haute Savoie team, the department where Châtel is located in. Anyways, I digress...

 Within the first five kilometers, 15 riders broke off the front of the race and immediately made the race. The breakaway included:
  • Diego Brasi and Marco Chianese (Palazzago), Maxat Ayazbayev and Roman Seymenov (Astana CT), Thomas Vanbeisen and Jeroen Vrolijkx (Lotto U23), Oliviero Troia (Colpack), Giacomo Berlato and Andrea Toniatti (Zalf-Euromobil), Rino Gasparrini (Trevigiani), Simon Pellaud (Swiss National), Walter Devecchi (Overall), Jasha Sütterlin (Thüringer Energie) and Loïc Vliegen and Paul Lynch (BMC)
These 15 got a healthy gap but the fun wasn't over for potential GC contenders. As the gap grew out further to two minutes, Gennady Tatarinov (Russia National) and Mikel Iturria (Euskadi) then attacked out of the peloton and set off in pursuit of the breakaway. Manuel Senni (Colpack) joined them shortly afterwards. After the first sprint points, 25 more riders joined the front group and it was now 40% of the peloton out in front with Garby chasing about a half minute behind. After the 2nd climb of the La Beunaz, it was a group of 20 riders that would make the breakaway for the rest of the race.

  • Fiorillo (Vejus), Baur, Pellaud (Swiss National), Maxime Le Lavandier (Chambery), Katyrin, Foliforov and Akimov (Russian National), Troia (Colpack), Berlato, Toniatti (Zalf Euromobil), Kozhatayev, Ayazbayev and Semyonov (Astana), Vrolijkx (Lotto-Belisol), Iturria (Euskadi), Sütterlin (Thüringer Energie), Vliegen (BMC), Brasi and Ciccone (Palazzago) and Maestri (General Store)

Over the next 10 kilometers, the gap went from 30 seconds to nearly 5 minutes. A group including Luca Chirico (Trevigiani) and Carlos Barbero (Euskadi) took off after the group but only Barbero and Lotto's would eventually bridged to the group. Going into the final 20 kilometers, the gap was nearly six minutes on the peloton.

With 15 kilometers left, the break was on the uphill run in to Châtel and a group of five had separated themselves. Andrea Toniatti and Giacomo Berlato (Zalf Euromobil), Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev and Maxat Ayazbayev (Astana) and Maxime Le Lavandier (Chambery) lifted the pace and the race blew open. Le Lavandier and Ayazbayev dropped off fairly early while Euskadi's Mikel Iturria bridged the gap to the other leaders.

The four worked well together but with 5 kilometers left they were joined by Ayazbayev, Diego Brasi (Palazzago) and Simon Pellaud (Swiss National). The group of 7 had a gap of a minute on most of the breakaway and still have 5'47" on the rest of the peloton, which included Garby, 2nd place Davide Villella and other high GC placers. With four kilometer to go, Berlato attacked and got 10 seconds. The only ones able to respond were Berlato's teammate Toniatti and Itturia, the rest not able to follow on the shallow uphill. The duo went by Berlato in the final kilometer and Toniatti came around the Basque rider and took the victory, his 3rd of the year.

Behind, Davide Villella attacked the yellow jersey group in the finale, an attack that saw the leader Garby drop off the back slightly. Villella took a further 13 seconds out of Garby's lead, taking it down to just 28 seconds. The biggest GC mover on the day was Astana's Roman Semyonov, who was in the day long breakaway and took enough time to move from 10th to 3rd on GC, just 47 seconds down on Garby.

  1. Andrea Toniatti (Zalf Euromobil)
  2. Mikel Iturria (Euskadi)
  3. Giacomo Berlato (Zalf Euromobil) +7"
  4. Diego Brasi (Palazzago) +16"
  5. Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Astana) +34"
  6. Simon Pellaud (Swiss National) +1'03"
  7. Maxat Ayazbayev (Astana) +1'12"
  8. Roman Semyonov (Astana) +1'26"
  9. Mikhail Akimov (Russian National) +1'28"
  10. Dimitri Peyskens (Lotto-Belisol U23) +1'30"
  1. Marc Garby (General Store)
  2. Davide Villella (Colpack) +28"
  3. Roman Semyonov (Astana) +47"
  4. Davide Formolo (Petroli Firenze) +49"
  5. Clément Chevrier (Chambery CF) +51"
  6. Louis Vervaeke (Lotto-Belisol U23) +57"
  7. Alexander Foliforov (Russian National) +1'05"
  8. Mikel Iturria (Euskadi) +1'34" 
  9. Manuel Senni (Colpack) +1'35"
  10. Daniele Dall'Oste (Trevigiani) +1'56"
Full Results for Stage and GC

The GC has continued to tighten up and another mountain filled day on Friday will most likely see the conclusion of the GC battle as Garby will have to put everything on the line to defend his lead over Villella, Formolo and the rest of the contenders.

Garby's last day in yellow?

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