Race report

Tricky conditions see crash-marred uphill sprint finish on stage 2 in Provence

Tour de La Provence

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

After yesterday’s opening stage under the sunny skies in Provence, today the riders were met with much more overcast conditions; with the afternoon set for a deluge of rain and cool winds. As the bunch rolled out of the start town in Cassis, it didn’t take long for a five rider breakaway to escape the bunch and build up an advantage of roughly three and a half minutes.

With the rain continuing to fall, the team moved forward en masse as the raced entered the final 80 kilometres, keeping a good position towards the fore of the peloton. As the kilometres ticked by conditions became more difficult and the terrain more rolling, with several hills stretching and thinning out the bunch. The team did a good job to move Max Kanter into the front 30 positions over the climbs as other sprinters were dropped, but as the fight intensified in the closing 20 kilometres, the team then found themselves a bit further behind than they wanted.

On the wet, twisting, narrow roads the bunch was stretched out in one long line as they approached the three kilometre climb to the finish, and as the road kicked up the intense pace made it incredibly difficult to move up. Romain Combaud was ultimately the team’s first rider home, after a handful of crashes split the bunch in the finale and took away any good chance for a nice result for the team.

Speaking after the stage the experienced Nicholas Roche said: “Today the team rode well together as a group and the racing automations are starting to kick in again which is nice. We missed a good result at the finish but we’ll keep trying for one in the coming two days.”

Team DSM coach Michiel Elijzen added: “Today was a pretty long stage at around 180 kilometres and we had some rain along the way. It was a pretty easy start but it became harder towards the end, with some climbs. We tried to position Max for the uphill sprint at the finish after we saw that he was surviving the climbs. We lost each other a little bit in the hectic final and we didn’t have the legs and luck to compete for a top result on the stage. Overall, the day was okay for us; we’re feeling better than yesterday so that’s already an improvement. We’ve still got two days left to get a nice result and we’ll keep trying.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 BALLERINI Davide Deceuninck - Quick Step 4:21:49 20
2 CICCONE Giulio Trek - Segafredo ,, 10
3 ARANBURU Alex Astana - Premier Tech ,, 5
23 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM ,, -
60 KANTER Max Team DSM 1:06 -
80 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM 2:19 -
92 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 2:46 -
102 SÜTTERLIN Jasha Team DSM 3:30 -
110 ROCHE Nicolas Team DSM 5:34 -
114 MÄRKL Niklas Team DSM 8:34 -