Jan Bakelants on the podium at La Med, Leigh Howard defying the wind at Clasica Almeria and a feisty Andrea Fedi in the hills of Italy. To paraphrase the ‘Walrus of Luurve’ – it’s your first, your last, your everything!
La Méditerranéenne, Stage 4, Bordighera to Bordighera, 126km
Sir Jan of Bakelants [it’s such a knightly name don’t you think?] gave Ag2r La Mondiale their first win of the season when he stormed up the final ascent passing both Arnold Jeannesson (Cofidis) Alex Geniez (FDJ) who finished second and third respectively. You had to feel a little for the FDJ rider, he was caught agonisingly close to the line. Overnight race leader Andrei Grivko (Astana) finished in tenth, enough to secure him the overall by 18secs from FDJ’s Matthieu Ladagnous with Bakelants rounding out the podium. It was Sir Jan’s birthday, but any cake had to wait while Ag2r visited the podium to collect the points jersey (Bakelants), the mountains jersey (Cyril Gautier) and the best team trophy. The best young rider was Direct Energie’s neo-pro Lilian Calemejane – remember that name [Midge tip]
Oh dear, maybe there wasn’t any cake …
Clasica de Almeria, Almeria to Almeria,
The new UCI extreme weather protocol had it’s first test in Spain as high speed winds whipped up sandstorms and made walking, let alone racing, too dangerous (see here for details). The race, scheduled for 184km, was neutralised and restarted several times before it was finally deemed impossible to continue and the peloton returned to Almeria for a 21km criterium style dash. The wind ripped the peloton into shreds here as well, but IAM’s Leigh Howard broke out of the lead group to take the win from Alexey Tsatevich (Katusha) and team mate Aleksejs Saramotins.
Just the happiest photo of Leigh Howard’s first win for the IAMcats
Trofeo Laigueglia, Laiguiglia to Laiguiglia, 192.5km
Andrea Fedi (Southeast-Venezuela) has nerves of steel! The young Italian rider attacked on the descent and powered over last three kilometres to take a fantastic solo victory at this hilly semi-classic. Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) just pipped Nippo-Vini Fantini’s Grega Bole in the sprint for second.
Don’t you love it when a rider gets his first professional win?
Final km [the winning attack comes at around the 37min mark]
Header image: Jan Bakelants at the 2015 Tour de France AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (via Getty images)