56º Giro Ciclístico Valle d´Aosta
Stage 1: Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise – Saint-Gervais-Mont Blanc (126 km)
Chaotic first stage online at Valle d´Aosta. The French day of this edition, a hard fraction with three mountain pass on the route, was marked by a great neutralization of the race motivated by a confusion in the route by the platoon, induced by the organization, and by the subsequent protest of the riders to the incomprehensible decisions taken by the commissaires. In this dynamic of events, the stage victory and the leadership went to the bag of the Dutch Ide schelling (SEG), while the five riders of the Kometa Cycling Team arrived with the big group, 43:25 of the winner. Decisions were yet to be made regarding the influence of this stage and its timing on the overall given the uniqueness of its dispute: in the end, the loss of time allotted to the platoon was 16:47.
The first online stage was no such thing. The race had to be stopped around kilometer 95, when an important group of runners were sent by another route. Moments of great tension and chaos began. When relaunching the race, the judges took into account the times of the nine fugitives who at that moment were running ahead, not together, only. Nine men who essentially came from a breakaway that had been gestated in the early stages of the day and a chasing group that had been set up later. At the time of the neutralisation, barely thirty cyclists made up the pack of aspirants; the today’s leader, in fact, was very far behind. Col des Saises had largely selected a race in which the Kometa Cycling Team, with Stefano Oldani and Michel Ries setting the pace in the first two passes, had worked very well to defend the interests of Juan Pedro López.
But the neutralization came: three cyclists in the lead, with 1:48 over four pursuers, 2:40 to two other cyclists and that small group of about thirty units at 3:30. The commissioners chose to group all the cyclists backwards in a matter of time. And they decided to start fifteen kilometres ahead of where the error had occurred, reducing the dispute to the climb to Le Bettex and its descent. The discomfort among the cyclists was immediate.
The relaunching of the race generated two races, or two situations: that of the runaways, where Schelling, Vansevenant and Chevalier would fight for victory, and that of a platoon without any desire to fight, with a low pedal rhythm and a rapid accumulation of lost minutes. Facing the half-hour disadvantage, the platoon stopped dry five meters from the finish line as a protest in an environment of very agitated spirits. “It was a very strange situation. The protest has been gestating from the very moment they started, with everyone crossing the bikes”, explains Juan Pedro López.
“It has been a terrifying situation to live a situation like this, in a test of reference at European level. The worst thing is that on the first day there were also problems, as there were errors in the timing of the prologue,” contributes Félix García Casas, second director of the Kometa Cycling Team in the Italian race, where Dario Andriotto is in charge. Some riders also pointed out that they had to compete after the neutralisation in sections with open traffic.
On Thursday the second stage of the Italian race will take place: a 137.6 kilometre journey with a high finish and a sterrato stretch. Between Aymavilles and the long climb to Valsavarenche, a very complicated terrain full of steep slopes and with a couple of high scores for the mountain Grand Prix. A second stage, however, which will be absolutely marked by the events of this Wednesday and the decisions that may take at the end the panel of judges in the race.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)