Our squad is the defending champion, following Andrea Bagioli’s spectacular ride in 2021, when the young Italian showed a clean pair of cleats to his opponents on the final hill of the day and powered to a solo victory.
Alaphilippe lights up Drôme Classic
The last of the weekend’s French double-whammy, Drôme Classic put on the table a 192.5km course featuring 16 climbs and a sting in the tail favouring the puncheurs – in short, plenty of opportunities for the riders to open up the race early.
Runner-up Saturday at the Ardèche Classic, Mauri Vansevenant launched a move from afar, emerging from the peloton together with seven other riders and establishing a one-minute margin with three hills still left. Then, at the same time two men rode away from that group on the Côte des Roberts, Julian Alaphilippe lifted himself from the saddle and produced a long surge that shattered the bunch to pieces, drawing a response from just two riders. The newly-formed trio began to chew into the leaders’ advantage, the World Champion himself taking some long pulls that brought them within touching distance ahead of the uphill finish.
That impressive effort eventually took its toll on him and Julian concluded fifth in Etoile-sur-Rhône, but despite the result, he remained upbeat: “We tried, we worked well together, but those in the front were really strong. I already felt that I was a bit on the limit when the chase was on, but I was happy to collaborate with Guillaume and Benoit. I did a big effort and in the final I felt the cramps and that was it. But I have no regrets and I am happy to have raced here these two beautiful events. This weekend served also as preparation for my next goals, and I hope the condition will get better and better.”
Photo credit: ©Billy Ceusters