Race report

Climbers do battle up to Chalet Reynard finish on Mont Ventoux

Tour de La Provence

After a sprint stage and one for the puncheurs in the opening two days of racing at the Tour de La Provence, today offered a chance for the climbers to go for stage honours on the finish up to Chalet Reynard at Mont Ventoux; on a day that would be likely to decide the GC of the race.

It was a cagey start to the day once the flag dropped after the neutralised zone, with the team active towards the front of the peloton, as Andreas Leknessund, Max Kanter and Jasha Sütterlin tried to make it into any large breakaway groups as the attacks flew from the peloton. A sextet eventually escaped after 20 kilometres of racing and with all Team DSM riders in the bunch, attention focused on staying warm in the cold winds and saving energy for the tough finish to come.

With the breakaway eventually caught, the team did a good job to position Romain Combaud, Nicholas Roche and Mark Donovan on the lower slopes of Mont Ventoux. The three climbers put in a good effort and gave it their all on the steep ramps, but couldn’t match the stinging pace set by those out front, with Combaud the first rider across the line for the team at the end of the stage.

“It was a really hard day up Ventoux,” explained Donovan after the finish. “There were a lot of guys who are flying early season so the plan at the start of the day was to do as good of a job as we could as a team, and to see if we could get a result out of the day. In the end none of us really had the legs but we gave it a good go on the last climb. There are a lot of positives to take but we’re just not quite there when it came to the finish but hopefully in the next few races we can make that lest step up and be fighting for some nice results. It’s good to see the team working so well together already. We were together all day as a team and really working well for each other.”

Team DSM coach Michiel Elijzen continued: “As expected it was a pretty controlled race after the breakaway was gone, and we tried to be in there but didn’t succeed. After that it was up to the GC teams to control it up until the bottom of Mont Ventoux. We tried to get Romain, Nicholas and Mark into a good position for the climb and the guys did well to do that. They rode up the climb as hard as possible and did a good effort but it was not for a top result come the finish line. The rest of the guys came home safely and within the time limit, so we’re looking forward to tomorrow’s final stage now where we’ll work to set up Max for the expected sprint finish.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 SOSA Iván Ramiro INEOS Grenadiers 4:08:14 20
2 BERNAL Egan INEOS Grenadiers 0:15 10
3 ALAPHILIPPE Julian Deceuninck - Quick Step 0:18 5
34 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 3:32 -
49 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 6:07 -
50 ROCHE Nicolas Team DSM ,, -
95 MÄRKL Niklas Team DSM 15:12 -
103 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM ,, -
107 SÜTTERLIN Jasha Team DSM 16:32 -
115 KANTER Max Team DSM 20:38 -