Sailing over the line, arms aloft, to take a stage victory must be such a spine-tingling feeling. How much sweeter must it be when it comes on the roads you call home, or it’s your very first as a professional. Lets get down to the races in the Basque country and the Loire and find out.
Pais Vasco Stage 2, Markina-Xemein to Amurrio-Baranbio, 174.2km
A duel on the 19% kickers of the final climb on Garrastatxu ended with a storming win and the leader’s jersey for home boy Mikel Landa (Sky). LottoNL-Jumbo’s Wilco Kelderman fought him all the way and only gave way in the final metres to finish 1sec adrift in second. With the peloton in pieces all over the slope, Sergio Henao was the best of rest to give Sky two on the podium. These three riders lead the overall in stage finish order.
How special was this win for Mikel?…
Nicolas Edet’s Cofidis kit wonderfully styled with the addition of polka dots [personally I think those little black bands make it]
Sarthe Stage 1, Château-du-Loir to Château-du-Loir, 182.8km
We LOVE it when a rider gets his first professional win and even more so when it is taken with panache. Marc Fournier (FDJ) got into the break with Grishka Janorksche (Team Roth) and then just kept going after dropping his companion on the finishing circuits. The pair built a lead of over 17 minutes at one point before the peloton woke up and started to chase. Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) won the sprint for 2nd place from IAM’s Sondre Holst Enger – a walloping 2:26mins after the winner crossed the line. We’ll let Marc take the story from here…
It’s exceptional. I’m a neo pro, just 21 years of age and I win my first pro race although it’s only my sixth day of racing this year. People aren’t used to see breakaways like this in the pro ranks any more. It’s usually controlled by sprinters.
Highlights (In French)
Official site for Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, Twitter #itzulia
Official site for Circuit Cycliste Sarthe, Twitter #CircuitSarthe
Featured Image: Mikel Landa takes the win at Pais Vasco