Monday, August 24, 2015

Tour de l'Avenir: Mads, I tell you! They've gone Mads!

With only three flat stages in the Tour de l'Avenir , one would think that the teams with sprint intentions would be to create the environment for a sprint no matter what. With limited opportunities for some, this could be some teams only chance for glory. Yet on the 3rd day of the Tour de l'Avenir, it was once again the morning breakaway that was taking the day while the sprinters settled for minor placings. It is unthinkable that after Jonas Koch made a solo 130km breakaway work yesterday, a 7 man group that had just over 1'20" with 20 kilometers to go was able to make it to the end in a peloton that should have been clamoring for a big bunch sprint. Let's go through how it happened.

The start town of Avallon
The 193.5 kilometer stage from Avallon to Arbois started off quick in breezy conditions with a breakaway of 5 getting away within 5 kilometers. Tom Bohli (Switzerland), Imanol Estevez (Spain), Mads Pedersen (Denmark), Daniel Lehner (Austria) and Aksel Nommela (Estonia) got away and were working well together. Not to miss out, Will Barta (USA) decided to take the advice of Espoirs Central and attack the hell out of this race and brought along Jose Luis Rodriguez (Chile/UCI Cycling Centre). The duo was able to make it up to the breakaway and the group's gap began to grow.

Estevez took the first KOM on the Cote de Suze followed by Bohli and Lehner. The gap continued to grow to a maximum of 5'20" with around 100 kilometers to go while Estevez took the 2nd KOM over the Cote d'Ivry La Montagne. Off of the 2nd climb, it was all flat all the time and the echelons began to appear in the peloton behind. While the gap began to drop, a group including Sam Oomen, Giulio Ciccone, Sebastian Henao and Fernando Gaviria split off the peloton while Team France was on the back foot with no one in the front peloton. A gap that was over 3 minutes went down to just over 1 minute but when the peloton began to reform again, the breakaway's advantage didn't continue to drop.

Like someone zapped the peloton's legs, the gap that was just over a minute at 30 kilometers to go but with 15 kilometers to go, the gap has doubled to 2'30". Did the peloton get a rash of flat tires? Did a herd of puppies run out in front of them? I am still dumbfounded how the peloton, who was just a matter of kilometers from catching the breakaway, backed off the accelerator and allowed the breakaway to win again.
The breakaway stayed together into the final kilometer and it was Mads Pedersen, the Danish rider from CULT Energy, who went from a long way out and took the win ahead of Nommela and Rodriguez while Bohli, who was the best placed GC rider, placed 4th and took over the yellow jersey. Estevez, Barta and Lehner rolled in just seconds later while it was nearly 2 minutes until Stan Godrie (Netherlands) beat out Dylan Page (Switzerland) and Patryk Stosz (Poland) for the sprint for 8th place.

With Bohli in yellow, overnight points leader Jonas Koch kept his lead while Estevez tied him on KOM points but as he is now in a better GC spot, will wear the polka dot jersey tomorrow. While he was last in the breakaway, Lehner was judged to be the most combative on the day.

On GC, the majority of the breakaway riders are now on top of GC while overnight leader Søren Kragh Andersen dropped to 7th overall. Mathieu van der Poel and Nans Peters, who both crashed during the stage, lost time and dropped out of the GC race.

Full Results can be found here

The race continues tomorrow from the Pearl of the Jura, Champagnole, for the final flat stage of the Tour de l'Avenir before the race hits the mountains. The sprinters will be begging for at least one bunch gallop before toiling at the back of the race.

1 comment:

  1. Did the winner of the bunch sprint celebrate? Maybe some Teams thought the chase was caught? Seems impossible, but why else would something like this happen?