Ronde de l´Isard
Stage 3: Levignas and Boulogne-sur-Gesse (153.4 km)
The most affordable day in theory of the four stages that make up the Ronde of l´Isard was a constant, relentless struggle, without a minute’s pause. Siarhei Shauchenka (Team Azuréen) was the winner, while Stephen Williams (SEG) kept his lead for another day. Juan Pedro López was the first of the Polartec-Kometa riders, 13th with the same time as the winner.
For the Polartec-Kometa the development of the day was complicated by an inopportune and early puncture of Lopez that kept him in a small group of about 40 units and that came to roll with a minute and a half compared to the main group. All his comrades, except for one José Antonio García who remained in the vanguard, came to his aid. The work of the Polartec-Kometa and the Euskadi Foundation allowed reunification just under 100 kilometres from the end.
“It’s been 40 miles of paddling. A very hard day where you can not only not hit anything, but congratulate them and acknowledge the great work done”, said the director Rafa Diaz Justo from France. “This type of stage is often very hard. They do not have a defined route, nor are they for climbers or sprinters. Leg-breaking days that, in this case, had a total start ambush: a circuit of about six kilometers that had to be passed four times, with a very entertaining slope, wind in its high part and a dangerous descent… Juanpe punctured the rear wheel in the second step. And then, a great job. When they caught the platoon there was not a moment to recover. There was no pause, there was a lot of movement going on. There was no definite escape. Jose Antonio, facing the end, was very attentive to the Portuguese Almeida, because Portugal had been pulling very hard, but 400 meters from the end has opened and completely dislocated him.
The Ronde de l´Isard concludes this Sunday with a spectacular stage that will link Salies-du-Salat and Saint-Girons over 152.4 kilometres, including the Catchaudegué (second category), Col d´Agnes (first category) and Col de Péguere (first category) ports. The last scoring summit, after which there is still some ambush, is less than 30 kilometres from the end. It was a day of ambushes, with Juan Pedro Lopez arriving in 23rd place, 2:53 behind the leader.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)