Riccardo Zoidl and Julian Arredondo have both been impressive in their first time with Trek and yesterday they continued their excellent showing when the animated the finale of the Classic du Sud-Ardeche. In the end, they came away empty-handed but things are looking promising for future races.
It was at the foot of côte de Versas, with just over 30 kilometers remaining of the 195-kilometer race, where the peloton caught back the day’s four-rider breakaway that had escaped in the early kilometers, and where the fireworks began.
Trek Factory Racing’s Riccardo Zoidl launched an attack on the penultimate climb gaining nine seconds lead, and shattering the small group that had formed on the first half of the côte de Versas. At the top of the decisive climb, five others had joined him, including teammate Julián Arredondo. It looked to be the decisive move of the race, and the six riders worked well together in the valley between the final two hills.
A small chase group that had formed behind the six leaders was absorbed just after the descent by the hard chasing peloton led by Omega Pharma- Quick Step. In the valley BMC took over the chase, and at the foot of the final climb the gap was whittled from 20 seconds to 10.
However, the six out front refused to let up, and increased their advantage over the top of the final climb and down the final descent, doubling the lead back to 20 seconds.
With only eight kilometers remaining the gap was not enough too hold off the fast charging group behind, and the catch was made at the red kite that signifies one kilometer to go. Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) handedly won the resulting sprint, and Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) completed the final podium.
Julián Arredondo held on to finish in eighth place, while Fabio Felline - who had a stellar day to get over the tough climbs and finish with the front group numbering just over 30 - avoided a crash in the final 200 meters and placed 12th. Riccardo Zoidl also finished in the same time, placing 30th.
Trek Factory Racing’s director Alain Gallopin gave his analysis of the day’s racing.
“It was the team’s plan going into the race to try something on the climb with 30 kilometers to go. Both Julián and Riccardo showed they are very strong on the climbs today, and did a great job. Fabio did not feel good in the beginning of the race, and showed he can fight to be there at the end.
“I was not happy with the tv motos in the valley. They were too close in front of the peloton, and maybe it would not have changed anything in the end, but they gave an advantage to the chasing group.
“There was a crash with 200 meters to go, but we were not involved. Fabio did not have the legs at the end, and of course he is not happy with that. But overall, it was a good race for us. We were part of the critical move with both Riccardo and Julián; it did not work out in the end, but we tried. And Fabio showed he is also in good form - this is very good to see for Paris-Nice.
“Tomorrow we race La Drôme Classic. I do not know this course. We will sit down to review it, but it looks to be a similar race to what we did today. We will probably have the same plan.”
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