Alejandro Valverde -12th overall-, Enric Mas ride with top contenders until very end of decisive mountain stage in Megève; Kuss (TJV) wins as Martínez (EF1) takes final yellow with late surge against Pinot (GFC).
/ Today’s route
A grueling showdown, with eight categorized climbs in the 153km trek in and around Megève in the Alps. The riders had to tackle the Côte de Domancy (Cat-2) twice; face the chained cols of Romme (HC), Colombière (Cat-1) and Aravis (2ª); and the short, steep ascents of Frassette (Cat-4) and Cordon (Cat-2) before another finish in the Altiport (Cat-2).
/ Weather report
It was as fine as the peloton enjoyed most of the time in previous days, with some clouds covering the skies, no perceptible winds and temperatures around 25ºC. Wishing for the Alps block in the Tour, in exactly a month’s time, also having this weather despite its later slot in the calendar in mid September!
/ Keys to the race
- Overnight leader Primoz Roglic (TJV) did not start, due to the consequences of a crash sustained on Saturday. That left Thibaut Pinot (GFC) as race leader and a wide-open GC, with eight riders only 35″ apart.
- It was full gas from the start! 20 riders, including Pinot himself as well as Alejandro Valverde, Enric Mas and other race contenders, left the bunch behind in the section between the first Domancy ascent and the Col de Romme. Their gap over the second group -with Quintana (ARK) and Porte (TFS) as main GC riders left behind, joined by Mikel Landa (TBM), who dropped back with cramps- never stopped growing. From 1’30” at the top of La Colombière (60km), to 2’40” at Aravis (-75km) and a decisive 5′ with 40km left.
- From that ‘first peloton’ with Valverde and Mas, a further attack was made by Julian Alaphilippe (DQT) and Pavel Sivakov (INS), a duo that built a gap close to one minute as they reached the foot of Domancy (Cat-2), 25km before the finish. At the climb, the race split into two: the escapees were reached down by Pogacar (UAD), Martínez (EF1), López (AST) and Kuss (TJV), while Valverde and Mas stayed in pursuit at the G2, where Pinot struggled to follow the pace.
- After an exciting pursuit into the last two climbs, Martínez -2nd in the stage, only behind a brilliant Kuss- took overall honours with half a minute over Pinot. Valverde, who lost contact only into the Altiport climb, crossed the line in 13th place, 1’56” behind Kuss, to take 12th overall. Enric was 15th in the day.
/ Upcoming goals
Next week’s National Championships will gather all attention from our team next week, as a portion of both our women’s and men’s programs line up in their respective countries. The rest now focus on completing their preparations for the Tour de France, which starts in Nice on Saturday 29th.