Explosive final stage brings to a close the 2018 Tour de l’AvenirSun 26 Aug 2018
After a consistent and positive nine days of racing an unfortunate bout of sickness ruled out Rob Stannard’s chances of a result on the final day of racing at the 55th Tour de l’Avenir in France.
Stannard had been riding well and had looked to the last day of competition as one final opportunity to try and get what had proved to be an elusive stage win,but coming down with illness during the night ruled that out and despite racing on, the 19-year-old had to settle for fourth place in the points competition.
Mitchelton-BikeExchange formed the backbone of the Australian team with Stannard lining up alongside teammates Callum Scotson, Kaden Groves and Sam Jenner with the squad completed by Dylan Sunderland and James Whelan.
A tough ten-day race that attracts the cream of the worlds U23 riders started in Northwestern France and moved across to the Alps for a climatic finale.
Stannard and Cycling Australia remained consistent throughout with top ten finishes on most stages and back to back top five placings on stages eight and nine, including the prize for most aggressive rider on the hilly stage eight.
The last day of day of racing was a tough stage covering 150kilometres that was shortened due to icey conditions on the iconic Col de Iseran, cut short in distance, but not in drama as another explosive day unfolded.
Attacks marked the stage with splits forming on every ascent and despite repeated regroupings of the peloton it was a reduced bunch of favourites that went away to contest the finale with Gino Mader (Switzerland) taking the stage win and Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia) sealing the overall victory and Scoston first over the line for Australia.
“It’s quite disappointing really. We had been riding consistently throughout the race and to finish like this takes some of the gloss off. All in all, I’m quite happy with how the race went, I was up there in both the sprints and the mountain stages and it’s pleasing to see that I can mix it on all kinds of terrain.”
“I think the most frustrating aspect was the team trial, we were all confident of pulling off a result that day, but a couple of crashes put paid to our chances and we were unable to get back on terms. I’m looking ahead to worlds now and a good period of preparation going into September.”
Sport director James Victor:
“As ever it has been a great ten of days of racing here in France and important experience and learning curve for all the guys involved. We saw lots of action over mixed terrain and it was a really positive advert for U23 racing.”
“Rob rode very consistently throughout alongside Callum and both will use these past ten days as important preparation for the World Championships in Austria. We came close to a stage win a couple of times and I am happy with how the guys pulled up against this field of competition.”
Tour de l’Avenir stage ten results:
1. Gino Mader (Switzerland) 02:54:19
2. Eddie Dunbar (Ireland) ST
3. Clement Champoussin (France) ST
51. Callum Scotson (Australia) +7:58
Final general classification:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia) 26:28:53
2. Thymen Arensman (Netherlands) +1:28
3. Gino Mader (Switzerland) +1:35
32. Callum Scotson (Australia) +22:56
Photos courstey of Fede Ciclismo.