Two years ago, Rémi Cavagna pulled off a memorable victory here, after surviving from the day-long breakaway in the rain. It was Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s second win at the French race in the last decade, after the one of Petr Vakoč in 2016.
Vansevenant in attacking mode at Ardèche Classic
This year’s Ardèche Classic had it all: a hard up-and-down course, a breakaway fighting to remain in the lead as much as possible, attacks galore from the favourites inside the final 50 kilometers, a World Champion oozing panache and a sensational Mauri Vansevenant, who put in a tremendous ride on the way to his second podium of the season.
Controlled by a number of teams, including Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, the race came to life with around 50 kilometers to go, when a furious tempo set at the front of the group reduced the buncto just 30-35 riders. Julian Alaphilippe was there and he turned on the afterburners, launching a stinging attack on the Mur du Cornas. Having further reduced the peloton, the World Champion made another move, this time on the Saint-Romain-de-Lerps, but he was countered by a handful of riders.
A brief lull in proceedings followed, and three riders jumped off the front as soon as the road went up again. Among them, Mauri Vansevenant, who together with his companions caught the last member of the day-long breakaway. The trio worked well together until the penultimate ascent, where Brendan McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) went clear and carved out a small advantage which on the descent he padded out to almost 40 seconds.
Mauri chased hard to reduce the lead, but despite his best efforts he was left to fight for second, which he took with a big sprint on the finishing straight in Guilherand-Granges, racking up the team’s 22nd podium of the year: “It was a really hard race, also because things started early. The pace was quite high the whole day, there was never really a dull moment during the race. The moment McNulthy attacked, it was just a bit too fast for me. I tried to follow, but I never managed to come closer. I can be happy with this second place and with my form, which is improving with every race.”
Photo credit: ©Billy Ceusters