Sprinters leave it late on stage six of the Tour de l’AvenirWed 23 Aug 2017
A tightly contested sixth stage of the Tour de l’Avenir witnessed the last opportunity of success for the sprinters within the field before the race turns its attentions to the high mountains and the general classification.
Yet another super fast day, albeit aided at times by a strong tailwind saw a pair of riders go clear of the peloton and develop a lead of around three minutes before the bunch started to get the jitters and picked up the pace.
However, contributing factors such as a lack of cooperation and changing wind direction made the catch somewhat prolonged and difficult as the leaders held out until the final few hundred metres before the speeding bunch swept past.
Alvaro Hodeg (Columbia) took advantage of a good position and stormed to the stage win with Mitchelton-SCOTT riders Lucas Hamilton and Jai Hindley both finishing safely within the bunch, well protected by their teammates and looking ahead to Friday’s first mountain stage.
“It was a quite a tense day for the sprinters and their teams,” said sport director James Victor. “Especially with the breakaway duo being caught very late in the day, but for us it played out very well. We held a good position in the peloton and even when the crosswinds split the field the boys looked comfortable and dealt with it calmly and collectively.”
“We wanted to play it safe today and get everyone through in good shape with no damage on the GC and maintain our focus on the Alps on Friday.
“The last six days have been super fast and not without stressful moments, but we achieved our objective for the first part of the race and we are ready for the tables to be turned now we go into the mountains.
“For tomorrow’s rest day we will have an easy training ride with a stage recon included and then enjoy the afternoon before going over our race plan for the final stages.”
How it happened:
For the second day in succession two riders clipped off the front of the peloton and forged ahead to form a small breakaway as stage six sped out of Montrichard and along the banks of the Loire.
A windy day saw the peloton split into echelons as they mounted a chase behind the leaders on yet another fast stage with an average speed of 46kph and around three minutes separating the field.
On the approach to the closing circuits in St Aramud-Montrond with 30kilometres to go the leaders were still ahead as the bunch chased hard behind, trying to take advantage of the last opportunity for the sprinters to claim glory.
Disorganisation reared its head within the peloton for the second day in a row as the leaders continued to push on, carrying over a minute into the final ten kilometres.
It was very close, but in the end the bunch took the spoils, overcoming the duo in the closing metres with the Colombian Hodeg taking the stage victory from the ensuing sprint.
Tour de l’Avenir stage six results:
1. Alvaro Hodeg (Columbia) 03:00:46
2. Alan Banaszek (Poland) ST
3. Konrad Gessner (Germany) ST
31. Robert Stannard (Australia) ST
General Classification after stage six:
1. Patrick Gamper (Austria) 19:40:36
2. Ilya Volkau (Belarus) 00:01:23
3. Kasper Asgreen (Denmark) 00:03:45
22. Lucas Hamilton (Australia) 00:03:49