Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tour des Pays de Savoie Stage 1: Ignatiev solos to opening stage win

So I don't really know how to start this because I have a really funny feeling about Dmitry Ignatiev. Ignatiev had ridden with Itera-Katusha in both 2010 and 2011. He was 13th in the Tour de l'Avenir in 2010 and 7th in the Tour Alsace (harder than you think) in 2011. And then? Poof. Gone. I haven't been able to find anything on his whereabouts in 2012. No team. No racing. In 2013 it was much of the same for most of the year but he was on the roster of the Spanish amateur team Mutua Levante. The only result I can find for him is the Tour de Leon in August of 2013. Just to review then...Ignatiev had last raced on 8/25/11 when he DNFed a stage of the Giro Ciclistico della Valle d'Aosta and didn't race again (to my knowledge at least right now) until 8/2/13 on the first stage of VdL. That seems just a little too convenient. Seeing as he was also on Itera with the likes of Nikita Novikov, aka the Terminator, who tested positive in 2013, I have my doubts about Ignatiev.

In any case, the first stage of Pays de Savoie went to the summit of Valmeinier. It took a while for a breakaway group to stick and a few groups were brought forwards and then back. Finally, with nearly 50 km off the clock, a group of 7 including Elie Gesbert, Jeremy Maison (France Espoirs), David Belda (Burgos-BH), Jimmy Turgis (Roubaix Lille Metropole), Andrei Krasilnikau (AVC Aix), Hinigio Fernandez (Ecuador) and Florian Dumourier (CR4C Roanne) got away. There gap was pretty small and soon they were joined by Jordan Sarrou (Chambery CF), Quentin Pacher (AVC Aix) and Yoann Michaud and the group of 10 extended there gap on the main chasing peloton, which included all of the GC favorites. With 24 kilometers to go, the gap got to over 1'30".

Soon after, the race hit the short but steep Cote d'Orelle (1.9km at 9%) and while the lead group stayed intact, the gap dropped to under a minute. Once the race hit the Valmeinier climb then all hell broke loose. Like dynamite was dropped in the break, Quentin Pacher surged ahead and the remnants of the breakaway followed closely behind. The peloton had busted open as well. Jesus Del Pino (Burgos-BH) surged ahead and was the best early on and was followed by Louis Vervaeke and behind the Belgian was a small group including Pierre-Roger Latour, Ignatiev, Alexis Dulin and a few others.

Del Pino and Ignatiev bridged to the first chase group behind Pacher. Then Ignatiev hit the turbo-chargers and just danced away. With 5 km to go, he had 10 seconds on Del Pino. Vervaeke had go into the red early and was 50 seconds back. Clement Chevrier had blown and was already 3 minutes in arrears.
With 3km, Ignatiev was 30 seconds up. 2km to go and he was up 45 seconds. By the time he crossed the line, Ignatiev had pulled 57 seconds out of Del Pino while U23 Alexis Dulin came in at 1'07" down. Vervaeke recovered a bit and came in with AVC Aix teammates Krasilnikau and Pacher. Other favorites like Latour (1'59"), David Belda (2'28"), defending champ Yoann Barbas (2'33"), Mikel Iturria (2'39") and Clement Chevrier (3'31") all ceded time but all is not lost. Ignatiev lost 3 teammates during the day including double Ronde de l'Isard stage winner Alexander Foliforov and two others that were out of the time limit. Also this race has uphill finishes every day and many can suffer a bad day that will blow their GC hopes. Those that are consistent will get the worm...or the maillot jaune. I mean, if they really want a worm I'm sure they can go find one but it won't be on the podium presentation.


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