Tour of l´Ain
Stage 3: Léle Monts-Jura – Col de La Faucille (133,4 km)
At the age of 20, Luxembourg’s Michel Ries caressed the top-ten of the Tour de France’s overall final at l´Ain after another wonderful performance at the top of La Faucille. Ries, who was the best classified rider of the Polartec-Kometa in the Vuelta a Aragón, confirmed his status with an eleventh place in the stage and in the final general classification of l´Ain, where Arthur Vichot (Groupama-FDJ) won the last stage. A great performance for his youth and for the quality of his rivals. Ries has ended up being the second best youngster in this always prestigious ranking.
“I’ve felt very good these last two stages. Saturday was very demanding, with many climbs. But I was able to manage it well, staying in good positions all day, which allowed me to arrive with the second group along with many very strong riders. Today we had a really bad start to the day, a tremendous rain, but the team did a huge job of keeping me in a good position all day long and in front of the final climb of ten kilometres. I was able to hold out with the first ones until the last three kilometres and finally I finished in a beautiful eleventh position. I’m really happy with my performance in this tough race with a lot of very strong climbers”, Ries explains as he returns to his native Luxembourg.
“Impressive Michel’s performance. We thought he could pay for yesterday’s effort, because he’s very young, but today he’s been better than yesterday. He finished eleventh in both the stage and the general classification and we are surprised and very happy with his performance in this race. Now it’s time for him to rest for a few days and think about the Giro d’Italia, as he will be our asset for the general classification”, explains Jesús Hernández, director of Polartec-Kometa in the French round.
“In this double approach to the race, the search for the breakaway and the general’s advantage, Wilson Peña was very active, giving us presence, and managed to get us into the breakaway that was formed in the second port. The rest of the companions, magnificent tucking Michel in. The negative part of this last stage has been the crash of Miguel Ángel Ballesteros in the descent of that first col. A lot of water on the road, bad conditions, a cyclist from Astana went to the ground and threw it away. Fortunately, there’s nothing serious or broken. Now it’s time for a few quiet days to recharge the batteries for the next Giro d’Italia U23,” concluded Hernández.
Kevin Inkelaar, who climbed six positions, finished 44th overall. And seven riders from La Mancha, Isaac Cantón, the great protagonist of the race during the first stage, climbed to finish 55th.