42nd Ronde de l´Isard
Stage 1: Toulouse – Les-Mas-d´Azil (144.5 km)
The prestigious and demanding Ronde of l´Isard started with a day in line in which, with permission of a few breaks that did not miss, was fulfilled both the forecast of a sprint and the great favoritism for the partial victory of the Australian Kaden Groves (SEG). The aussie cyclist, who reached the French round with four victories this season, beat the colpack Alessandro Covi and Luca Colnaghi in the finish. The Galician Alejandro Regueiro was involved in the volley, signing an interesting eleventh final position that made him the first of the riders of the Kometa Cycling Team at the finish line.
How do you see such a finish from the inside? “Phew! It looks dangerous. But at the same time beautiful. It’s quite a high. It was a very fast finish”, says Ropero. Groves commented at the finish that he had inspected the finish on Wednesday. This was not the case of the cyclist from Santiago de Compostela: “I got into the madness and what the engine gave me. You can’t fight with the strong teams in these races, since they are very well organized. I have some speed and I finished with gas”.
The main goal for this first stage was very clear: we had to save the day, avoiding as far as possible crashes or possible cuts generated by the action of a wind that was announced to blow with force. Up to five major crashes occurred during the stage, but the air granted a truce. Only Sergio Garcia, and indirectly, was involved in one of the ‘montoneras’, without consequences.
“I suffered the last one, the one that took place five kilometers from the finish line. I was riding among the first twenty and the one in front of me went to the ground and can not avoid him. I fell right on top of him, he made me a mattress, I didn’t touch the ground. I was able to get up quickly, take the bike and get out completely to lose as little time as possible,” says the Andalusian. “I didn’t want to go in, but in the last 500 metres the race direction put me in the cars and I had to turn around. In the end I lost about 30 seconds, but looking at the good I have no injuries”.
“Yesterday I was stressing to the guys that they had to run as high as possible. The first stage of a lap with so much level is always complicated, but fortune has been on our side and we have ridden practically all the falls, some very numerous. We had to save the day in terms of heat. In the last climb they started to work with a lot of speed in the SEG team, Edu Pérez-Landaluce has been crowned among the first. And in the main group that passed the level we took everyone”, explains the director Rafa Díaz Justo.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)