55th International Cycling Tour of the Aosta Valley – Mont Blanc
Stage 1: Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc – Saint-Nicolas-de-Veroce (7.9 km CRI)

The Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez was the first rider of the Polartec-Kometa in the general battle for the Giro della Valle d´Aosta after finishing fifth in the seven-kilometre climb that, on French soil, hosted the start of the prestigious Transalpine event on Wednesday. The first, but not the only one, because the Colombian Wilson Peña finished tenth and seventeenth was the Dutchman Kevin Inkelaar in the framework of a great group performance in the beginning of a race that is one of the great objectives of the season for the formation.

The stage was won by the Danish Jonas Vingegaard (Danish National Team), who also became the first leader, but Juanpe was for many minutes the cyclist who set the best record on the finish line thanks to his time of 17:00, 23 seconds more than the ultimately winner. Peña gave up 37 seconds and Inkelaar 49 seconds. Only the Danish national team and Polartec-Kometa finished the first day with three top-20 riders. This first stage, however, leaves up to thirty riders in a minute.

A demanding time trial, with ramps above two digits at some points, a hard start and a second kilometre with an average of around 10%. Only the final part, the almost last kilometre, was more favourable in terms of slopes. “I am very happy with this fifth place, but also because I had very good legs.  Maybe I could have reduced the final time by a few seconds, but I’m happy,” says a López who says that in the weight check the commissaires indicated that they had to add extra weight to his bike, which delayed his start for about ten seconds.

“The team in general has been very good and we have the whole team in the top 50. Let’s see how tomorrow, we have a very hard mountain pass, San Carlo, halfway through the stage and a high finish. But today the boys have been at a high level and we finished the day second in teams,” said the director Jesus Hernandez. “The team did really well,” says Inkelaar. The Dutchman is already familiar with this event, where he performed well in 2017. “Personally, it’s been a strange day. The feeling was not super, but not bad. Tomorrow and the rest of the days are coming up with new opportunities to get it right. San Carlo is coming,” he says.

This Wednesday will be the second stage, the first one online, of the Aostana event. And the mountain doesn’t stop, with five high scores for the mountain grand prix and a high finish. The number of kilometres between Rhêmes-Saint-Georges and Rhêmes-Notre-Dame will be 158.8, which is a first-rate score. And on the way, with its summit more than 50 kilometres away at the end, a pass through the demanding Colle San Carlo, a 10.1 kilometre-long port at an average of 10% which will be decisive in the development of the race.

(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)

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