Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tour des Pays de Savoie: Vervaeke steals overall win on Plateau Glieres

How great am I? Seriously. If I could get any smarter, I don't know if I could be around anyone because I would just be endlessly smug and content about my near-superhuman intelligence. Perhaps that was a bit of hyperbole but in any case, the Tour des Pays de Savoie came down to the final stage, which showcased the Col de Glieres, one of the finest climbs in all of the Alps that the Tour de France seemingly won't touch with a 39 1/2 foot long pole. Read my friend Will's piece (from 2011) where he lists the Glieres as one of the top climbs never to be in the Tour de France. It is an absolutely fantastic mountain, which has two sides to climb, that is steeped in history and is a national treasure because of the World War II battle that took place on the Plateau where 122 resistance fighters died defending aid drops from the British against the Nazis.

Coming into the stage, it was essentially a 3-horse race with Dmitriy Ignatiev (Itera-Katusha) leading the race by 28 seconds on Louis Vervaeke and 38 seconds on Jesus Del Pino (Burgos-BH). The peloton let 10 riders go up the road within the first 5 kilometers and the group built up a solid lead of 2'20" before heading up the fearsome Col des Glieres.

Out of the breakaway, it was Guillaume Martin (CC Etupes) who accelerated away from the breakaway. Elie Gesbert (France Espoirs) led the chase of Martin up the climb ahead of the remnants of the original breakaway, which was just a few seconds in front of the peloton. Martin was able to claim first over the top and proceeded down the descent, where he would be chased vigorously and eventually be joined by Yoann Barbas (Armee de Terre), Benat Txoperena (Euskadi), Maxime Vantomme (Roubaix Lille Metropole) and Romain Campistrous (France Espoirs). This group was joined by a few more but there was too many fish to make it a successful breakaway and Martin countered and brought with him Txoperena and Julien Duval. They were joined by Tom Dernies shortly after. Seriously, this doesn't matter too much because so many guys came and went from the front group that it is so hard to keep track of. Let's fast forward to the finishing climb of the Plateau de Glieres.

The final climb started with 14 kilometers to go and the breakaway was down to just 7 riders including Martin, Clement Chevrier, Jimmy Turgis and Txoperena. Txoperena distanced himself from the rest of the breakaway while the fireworks began behind them in the yellow jersey group. First Vervaeke attacked which caused Del Pino to drop off.

There was a little regrouping as the break picked up Txoperena and then Ignatiev attacked. Vervaeke and Jordi Simon (Movistar South) were the only ones able to come to terms with the Russian but the fireworks were not done. With around 4 kilometers to go, Vervaeke attacked and the others were not able to respond. Vervaeke's advantage grew while Ignatiev and Simon, who were joined by Alexis Dulin and Barbas, began chasing in vain. In 2 kilometers, Vervaeke pulled out 17 seconds and he kept riding away.

In the final kilometer, Ignatiev was riding on the front trying to salvage the overall win and while Vervaeke was able to raise his arms for the stage win, the count down started. Tick tick tick. Ignatiev crossed the line utterly wasted. He was 29 seconds behind on the line. When you figure in the time bonuses, Vervaeke had pulled the coup and taken the leader's jersey by 5 seconds. Dmitriy Ignatiev's return from the dark was soured while Vervaeke became the 2nd rider to win both the Ronde de l'Isard and Tour des Pays de Savoie overall in the same season (1st was Guillaume Bonnafond, 2008).

Jesus Del Pino has just able to hang on to his 3rd place overall after blowing up quite spectacularly on the final climb. Jordi Simon capped off a solid week to finish 5th on the final stage after winning stage 2 and 3a for Movistar South.

-Looking at Vervaeke's race as a whole, it is pretty astounding. His lowest placing on a stage in the race was 4th, which is where he went too hard too early on the final climb and ceded some time to Ignatiev. He proceeded to go 2nd, 3rd, 2nd in the ITT and then won the final stage. Consistency really is the key. Vervaeke has buckled down on his training this year and has been living the pro lifestyle after moving to Italy and training in the hills all winter. He has a good head on him to but the key will be the transition period to the pros. I'm smelling a stagiaire position later this year for the lanky Belgian. And maybe a Tour de l'Avenir win. Also bacon.

-Dmitriy Ignatiev...well I'm not too sure what to say about him. It was the first time he did really well in a race since 2011 so who knows if he can keep it up. If he rides like this again then he has some talent but just too many sketchy factors involved.

-Out of 126 that started the race, only 64 finished the race with the lantern rouge Jurien Bosters (Belkin-De Jonge Renner) over 1 hour and 34 minutes in arrears.

1 VERVAEKE Louis Lotto Belisol E3 en 13:37:00
2 IGNATEV Dmitriy Itera Katusha TIK 13:37:05 0:00:05  
3 DEL PINO CORROCHANO Jésus Burgos BH BUR 13:39:00 0:02:00 
4 BARBAS Yoann EC Armée de Terre 13:39:44 0:02:44 
5 LATOUR Pierre Roger Chambéry C.F. E3 13:40:32 0:03:32 
6 LIPONNE Julien Bourg en Bresse A.C. 13:42:00 0:05:00 
7 DULIN Alexis VCCA Team Pro Immo N. Roux E4 13:42:01 0:05:01
8 TXOPERENA Benat Euskadi EUK 13:44:09 0:07:09   
9 KRASILNIKAU Andréi A.V.C. Aix en Provence 13:44:17 0:07:17 
10 CANAL Fabien EC Armée de Terre 13:45:21 0:08:21 
11 TURGIS Jimmy Roubaix Lille Métropole RLM 13:46:06 0:09:06 
12 EVRARD Laurent Wallonie Bruxelles WBC 13:47:01 0:10:01  
13 CHEVRIER Clément Equipe de France Espoirs E4 13:47:12 0:10:12  
14 FERNANDEZ Higinio Team Ecuador ECU 13:48:31 0:11:31  
15 ITURRIA Mikel Euskadi EUK E4 13:50:11 0:13:11

Results via DirectVelo

Stay tuned for a wrap up of the week that was outside of the Kingdom of Savoie.

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