Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tour de l'Avenir Stage 5: Martin Masters Mountains

Alliteration, my friend, you never get old. The mountains have made their presence felt in the Tour de l'Avenir already and there are still two days to go. This was basically a re-run of stage 6 from last year's race except the mountains were in a little bit different order but the finish on the La Rosiere climb was the same.

The Russians were hitting the trainers before the stage. Always an indicator of a short, brutal stage
Photo Directvelo
The race started off quick and it hit many of the non-climbers hard. German Chaves was feeling frisky and attacked his breakaway mates on the opening Col du Saisies and was able to make it last until the top of the climb. Following a the descent off the climb, there was a re-shuffle and Frenchman Jeremy Maison went on one of his patented long range attacks and went solo on the Col du Pre. The climb, which was nearly 13 kilometers in length and nearly 8% average, was Maison's playground and the Frenchman gap grew. It went from 30 seconds to a minute to a maximum of around 1'45". Teammate Guillaume Martin and Gianni Moscon broke away and began chasing Maison.

Maison made it over the top of the Col du Pre alone but shortly after he began the descent, he proceeded to fall off his bike and break his collarbone. So much for a long range win. With Team France's main climbing threat now in the team car, Guillaume Martin took up the impetus. Now at the head of affairs, the Frenchman attacked on the short side of the Cormet de Roselend and proceeded to go over the top of the climb solo.

Once at the bottom of the descent, the main chasing group decided to shoot itself in the foot. Martin was plugging along while the group of favorites was simply done chasing apparently and the gap ballooned from 45 seconds to 2 minutes. The first action came from German Chaves, Simone Petilli (Italy) and Gregor Muhlberger (Austria) and once on the final climb, it was soon Muhlberger and Petilli chasing alone in search of Martin. The La Rosiere climb is fairly consistent at 6% with the final kilometers even more so. The kilometers were ticking down and the duo were getting closer. With the red kite, Martin only had a 30 second advantage and Muhlberger laid down an impressive attack to drop Petilli.

Muhlberger was streaking and Martin seemed to be going in slow motion comparitively. Muhlberger was looking like he would catch Martin just before the line but the Austrian was directed off course with less than 500 meters to go, which gave Martin some breathing room. Muhlberger recovered and while the Frenchman took the impressive win, Muhlberger finished 6 seconds down and was able to take the yellow jersey. Marc Soler (Spain) attacked out of the peloton and ended up passing Petilli just before the line for 3rd, 39 seconds down.

The main group consisted of 11 riders and was led home by Colombian Daniel Martinez and Giulio Ciccone, who came across 1'23" back while Sebastian Henao, the pre-race favorite for many, was tailed off and finished 14 seconds behind the group.

More to follow later but here are the full results for now.

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