The young Belgian is well-placed ahead of the final Tour de l’Ain stage.
Four classified climbs, including a double ascent of the Col de Portet, and 2600 meters of vertical gain were the ingredients of a highly selective route which promised to alter the general classification where the gaps were almost non-existent following the opening day bunch sprint.
The big moves of this stage that travelled from Saint-Vulbas to Lagnieu came the second time up the Col de Portet, an 8.2km climb averaging 5.2% where the Wolfpack took over the reins early with Louis Vervaeke, who set a tempo that shed riders out the back which at the same time eating into the escapees’ advantage. When the first important attack was launched some four kilometers from the top, Julian Alaphilippe immediately responded and forced a selection, only a handful of riders, including Mauri Vansevenant, remaining in the small group which soon neutralized the breakaway.
After the first part of the descent, on a small uncategorized climb, a couple of riders emerged from that group and it didn’t take long until they opened a comfortable buffer over the chasers. Vansevenant remained attentive, and with three kilometers to go he tried to surprise his companions but they were quick to react. Going under the flamme rouge, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) jumped clear and took a solo win and the yellow jersey, two seconds ahead of the group from where Mauri sprinted to fourth place, a result that sees the 23-year-old from Oostende move up twenty-five places in the general classification.
“It was a very hard stage, but I felt quite good. In the closing kilometers I tried to go clear, but unfortunately the others reeled me in. It was especially difficult to do something, given that one team had two riders and we are all a bit on our limit. As a team we did a good race, we were there at the front every time it mattered and we will try again on the final day, where we could again have full gas action”, said Mauri, fourth overall now, after the stage that put Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in control of the team classification.
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