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The breakaway steals victory on stage one of the Tour de l’Avenir

Fri 18 Aug 2017

Despite a concerted chase by a relatively united peloton on the opening stage of the Tour de l’Avenir today, a late attack out of the breakaway claimed the stage victory whilst our own Mitchelton-SCOTT riders finished in the bunch for Australia.

An early and potentially dangerous eleven-rider move went clear early in the stage and included overall contenders Pavel Sivakov (Russia) and Egan Bernal (Colombia).

Australia missed the move and played a key role in organising the chase with huge turns by national U23 champion Sam Jenner and track engine Callum Scotson followed by Michael Storer going into the finishing circuits.

Eventually the other nations started to contribute and as the bunch drew closer the break began to split with attack after attack into the closing kilometres. Three riders were off the front as the catch was about to be made and it was Kasper Asgreen (Denmark) who soloed to the stage victory and yellow jersey.

Australia’s Lucas Hamilton and Jai Hindley finished safely in the bunch to stay in contention after a potential early GC crisis was averted by the late catch of the break containing Bernal and Sivakov.

“It was an incredibly fast start today,” said sport director James Victor. “We covered nearly 50kilometres in the first hour of racing and from how the stage eventually played out we know that there is not going to be any let up over the next eight stages.”

“We can breathe a little bit easier now, it was potentially a very dangerous move that went up the road and we had to fully commit to the chase to bring things back before the closing laps. Sam did a fantastic job in setting the pace for the pursuit, he was up there for a long time and deserves a lot of credit for his effort today.

“From experience we know that time can be lost on circuits like we had today and it was imperative that we got the bulk of the race back together on the last lap and I am happy that we managed it.

“In the end it’s a positive first day, all the guys came through without any issues and there were no huge surprises. We know the competition is strong and we know that we have to be constantly switched on, if anything today was a clear sign of how hard and fast this race is going to be.”

How it happened:

The Tour de l’Avenir got underway in the legendary region of French cycling, the Bretagne with a 134kilometre stage in Loudeac.

A significant eleven rider breakaway went clear early on in the stage and the group included race favourites Bernal and Sivakov, Australia missed the move and quickly started to organise the chase within the peloton.

Through the halfway point and the leaders had accumulated a four-minute advantage as Australian U23 road race champion Jenner took up the reigns at the head of the bunch.

The Great Britain national squad and the Belgians were the other main protagonists alongside Australia leading the chase, eventually the Americans joined in and the gap started to fall with 50kilometres remaining.

As the race hit the first of three finishing circuits with 25kilometres to go the leaders were within two minutes of the peloton. The fast pace continued as attacks started to split the break with two laps to go.

A trio of riders was off the front holding a slight advantage with five kilometres remaining with the remnants of the break at 15seconds and the peloton a further 30seconds behind being led by Storer and Scotson.

Asgreen launched a very late attack with less than two kilometres to go as the peloton swallowed the chasing group, the Dane rode strongly and held out to take the solo victory as the bunch sprint unfolded behind.

Tour de l’Avenir stage one results:

1. Kasper Asgreen (Denmark) 03:03:54

2. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Norway) 00:00:03

3. Imerio Cima (Italy) ST

28. Jai Hindley (Australia) ST

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