In Valsavarenche, second place of Oldani, fifth of López and step ahead of both in the overall
56º Giro Ciclístico Valle d´Aosta
Stage 2: Aymavilles – Valsavarenche (137.6 km)
Wednesday’s events were a thing of the past and the goal of the general had been complicated. It was time to reset and face each day as if it was the last one. If fighting for the yellow jersey is complicated, not to try and fight for all partial victories. And said and done. The Kometa Cycling Team went on the attack this Thursday during the second stage of the Giro del Valle d´Aosta, the first stage with a high finish. Stefano Oldani, Juan Pedro López and Michel Ries were among the great animators of a race in which at the end a former rider of the Foundation, the Dutch Kevin Inkelaar (FDJ), won. Oldani finished second, while López finished fifth. And both protagonized an important first jump in a classification where now the leader is the French Jéremy Bellicaud (CR Bourgogne).
It was a stage in which Oldani and Inkelaar were hand in hand for many kilometers. Both moved from the main bunch in the first third of a stage marked by several attempts to escape. Twelve riders would end up consolidating at the front of the race, gradually kneading and stabilising an advantage around the minute and a half, with their highs and lows. It was at that moment when Juan Pedro López attacks in the big group. The Andalusian, already in the second scoring port of the day (Verrogne) would also manage to reach the head of the race, as would later the Luxembourger Michel Ries following the same strategy as his teammates. The Kometa Cycling Team managed to include its three main riders among the thirteen runaways. Among them was also one of the nine riders who were escaped yesterday, Bellicaud, who had a great breakaway to grow in the general classification.
Already in the first part of the long final climb the breakaway would be very much selected, but among the five riders who stood out provisionally where the stage proposed a stretch of sterrato (with a very dangerous downhill stretch) rolled the three representatives of the continental team of the Alberto Contador Foundation. Michel Ries was the first to give way within the last sixteen kilometres. At eleven from the end Kevin Inkelaar would start and the Dutchman would go alone while López set the pace behind to try to approach Oldani. Four kilometres from the finish line, the Italian and Ethiopian Mulu Hailemichael (Dimension Data) would go in pursuit of an unreachable Inkelaar that by then was already rolling with a minute and a half of margin. In the sprint for the second place the Milanese Kometa Cycling Team would beat his rival, reaching 2:44 of the winner, while Juan Pedro López entered at 3:41, slightly ahead of the new race leader Jéremy Bellicaud.
The first high finish of the Giro del Valle de Aosta drives both Oldani and López in the general standings, although time incomes are still important. Oldani enters the top ten overall, occupying ninth place at 12:57 Bellicaud. Juan Pedro López, for his part, is now in twelfth place, at 13:58 of the new yellow jersey. “I think we’ve done a very nice stage in the team,” said Michel Ries. “Right now, after yesterday’s events, the race is a little crazy, there is no team that is really controlling the race.
Dario Andriotto, director of the Kometa Cycling Team: “The team was ten today. Yesterday was a very hard day, but the guys have overcome very well. Juan Pedro, Michel and Olda both showed that they arrived at Aosta in very good physical condition. Today Inkelaar was the strongest. He is a guy we had in the team last season, with whom we fought for the overall of this race and we know his great abilities for climbing. Until the last goal there is nothing closed or decided and we will continue fighting. We want to get at least one win and we’re not going to let them fight for that goal”.
This Friday the corsa valdostana faces its longest fraction. There will be almost 180 kilometers (179.7 exactly) between Antagnod and Champoluc. At kilometre 109.9 the very tough Col de Champremier is crowned, with a very constant slope of around 8% and a technical and complicated descent. Towards the end, moreover, the cyclists will have to climb two second-category passes that are practically linked: Ravet and Joux. And the last kilometers, which do not score, are faced on an ascending route that can feed fatigue and new time differences.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)