16th place, 38" off new leader Sam Oomen (TGA), for young Catalan climber from Movistar Team, at the front through last two climbs of insane Tour de l'Ain Queen stage; Marc Soler also in the mix
Antonio Pedrero‘s arrival into the Movistar Team was more than a reward to constance through his amateur phase. The 24-year-old climber from Terrassa joined the WorldTour ranks into Eusebio Unzué’s squad to excel in tremendous stages like Friday’s mountain trek in the Tour de l’Ain: 141.4km, with five difficult climbs, between Nantua and Lélex Monts-Jura. It wasn’t a bad day either for the squad’s other Catalan rider, Marc Soler, runner-up in June’s Route du Sud and strong until the Col de Menthières, the day’s prelude to the only mountain-top finish in the race.
It took long to form the early breakaway, with several attempts not sticking into the first col de Samognat (Cat-3), which Jorge Arcas crested in 3rd spot to signal the José Luis Laguía-led group’s hopes to chase glory in this day. It wasn’t until 40km in, after the montée de Viry (Cat-2), when Périchon (FVC), Quémeneur (DEN) and Di Grégorio (DMP) led the way freely. Over at Menthières (1ª), the peloton exploded into pieces, with a decisive, 16-man split including Pedrero and Soler. The man from Barcelona was the Blues’ top performer of the day, 16th at 38” from Dutchman Sam Oomen (TGA), who also seized control of the yellow leader’s jersey. Soler (25th) and Arcas (33rd) finished at around five minutes from the leaders, not far following a tough day which preceded tomorrow’s showdown in eastern France. 132.2km are scheduled for Saturday, over the cols of Rochette (Cat-2) and Grand Colombier (Cat-1) prior to a long descent into Belley.