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"We had a good gap, looked one another in the eyes and agreed on the outcome, so Fernando gave me the win. He was class act and I can't thank him enough for this."

Photo: Etixx-QuickStep / Tim De Waele

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DAVIDE MARTINELLI

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DELKO-MARSEILLE PROVENCE KTM

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DIRECT ENERGIE

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EF EDUCATION FIRST-DRAPAC

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FERNANDO GAVIRIA

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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LORRENZO MANZIN

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REMY DI GREGORIO

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SERGEY CHERNETSKIY

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THOMAS VOECKLER

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TOUR LA PROVENCE

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WANTY - GROUPE GOBERT

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YOANN BAGOT

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24.02.2016 @ 20:34 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Davide Martinelli surprisingly took his first professional win on the second stage of Tour La Provence as he led his teammate Fernando Gaviria across the line in a 1-2 for Etixx-QuickStep. The pair were the first two riders in the final turn and when Lorrenzo Manzin (FDJ) crashed out from third position, they had plenty of time to celebrate the victory while Daniele Ratto (Androni) could only sprint to a distant third place. Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) defended the lead.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Davide Martinelli grateful to Gaviria: He was class act

Five of Etixx – Quick-Step's new riders have already recorded a success this season, the most recent to make his way to the list being Davide Martinelli. Three-time ITT national champion in the amateur ranks, Martinelli was leading teammate Fernando Gaviria in the final kilometer of the second stage of Tour La Provence, when a couple of riders hit the ground in a tight left corner with less than 200 meters left to the line. Martinelli, who hails from a family with a strong background in cycling, was well-positioned at the front and this allowed him to avoid the incident and get clear together with Gaviria.

 

At the finish in Istres, the Colombian didn't contest the sprint, so the 22-year-old Italian was the one who raised his arms in celebration after nailing his maiden pro victory in the peloton, and the 12th of Etixx – Quick-Step in 2016. Czech champion Petr Vakoč, who is leading the young riders classification, was 18th on the stage and kept his second place in the overall standings of La Provence, seven seconds behind leader Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie).

 

"It's an incredible feeling, I'm over the moon about it. We worked hard today behind the five escapees, and this is a victory of the entire team. For me, it's the best day of my life, that I can say. Riding with this team is a real honour and a pleasure. Now I will probably need a couple of days to realize what has just happened", said Davide Martinelli after the stage.

 

The Italian, who made his debut in the Etixx – Quick-Step jersey last month, at the Tour Down Under, continued: "In the finale I was at the front, as my job was to lead Fernando. I came out of the last corner in first position with Fernando on my wheel, and when I took a look over my shoulder I saw that it was only me and him, as some riders have crashed. We had a good gap, looked one another in the eyes and agreed on the outcome, so Fernando gave me the win. He was class act and I can't thank him enough for this. I will rest now and on Thursday I will give it my best to repay Fernando. We are roommates in La Provence, and I got to know him better and see what a great person he is. He has the DNA of a great champion and I'm sure he'll win many races in the future. Today, he made a great gesture, and he has my gratitude for that."
 

"It's really amazing. I cannot believe it. It’s like a dream, this is not possible. I did not expect at all to win today. I was really supposed to lead out Gaviria and we worked all day for him. The final circuit was very demanding and technical. We had to avoid getting trapped. 

 

“Gaviria was on my wheel in the last corner. I led him out in the best way possible and in the end, he did not pass me. We were 1 and 2 of the stage. It's absolutely brilliant. 

 

”Again, I do not believe it. This is my first professional season, we are in February and I already have a victory. That's great. 

 

”Tomorrow I will take my support role again and I'll try to bring Gaviria to victory this time. I'll do everything to win too." 

 

"The first idea was to catch breakaway,” sports director Davide Bramati told Directvelo. “We chased when the gap had gone out to 4 minutes Verona, Velits and Alaphilippe did a great job. The goal was to be in the lead in the turn 600 meters from the line. Fernando (Gaviria) let Davide win as he will have the opportunity to win more.

 

“Martinelli has often done race like the Tour de l'Avenir and time trials like the European Championship. He won great races at the U23 level. We are very happy when a neo-pro wins. This is important and very nice for a team." 

 

Egor Silin aminates Tour La Provence sprint stage

Stage 2 (Miramas – Istres, 180 km) of the Tour La Provence was a good moment for Team KATUSHA with Egor Silin making a part of the day-long breakaway, which ended with only 9km to go.

 

The breakaway of the day went away after around 10km of racing. Five riders made this break, including Egor Silin of KATUSHA. The group of Silin was able to get 4 minutes of advantage. With around 50 km to go Egor Silin went away together with Yoann Bagot from Cofidis. The two riders tried to stay in front of the race as long as possible, still having nearly one minute with 20km to go.

 

“We knew it could be a good opportunity for a big breakaway group today, so we aimed to be there. But, finally it was a pretty small group and Egor Silin was there. It was clear this group did not have big chances, but Egor did a good race, fighting until the end. I am happy with Sergei Chernetckii who was in front, making another top 10 result and holding his position in GC. Also Aleksandr Porsev is improving day by day. Tomorrow we have the final stage, it will be difficult to change something in this race, but we never give up and we will continue our fighting,” said sports director Dmitry Konyshev.

 

KATUSHA’s Sergei Chernetckii who was very active yesterday, was in front, taking 8th place and moving up to 8th place in the general classification, 14 seconds behind overall leader Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie).

 

Yoann Bagot: I believed that we could deny the sprinters

Yoann Bagot (Cofidis) was caught on the finishing circuit and was the most combative rider 

 

"I had a good motivation for this race, especially for the first stage,” he told Directvelo. “But I hadn’t raced since La Méditerranéenne and I often struggle during on the first day of a stage race. I ended up with cramps and I finished quietly yesterday which allowed me to have more room for maneuver in the last two stages. 

 

“Today I was three kilometers from my home. I was hoping for a good performance. Rémy Di Gregorio was not too far behind overall. I attacked with Silin (Katusha). I believed in it. We rode fast. We got along well as I speak fluent Russian (laughs). Seriously, we believed in it. It was possible but in these cases, the peloton decides. There is no result in the end but I enjoyed myself.”

 

Inexperienced lead-out costly for Wouter Wippert in Provence

The second stage of Tour de la Provence ended in a crash-marred field sprint. Wouter Wippert, Cannondale's man for the finish, was caught behind the stack-up. Lawson Craddock was the best-placed ‪#‎GreenArgyle‬ for the second day running finishing in 11th place on bunch time -- one spot ahead of Tom Skujins. Craddock sits ninth overall headed into the third and final stage on Thursday.

 

DS Eric van Lancker said: "The goal today was to sprint for Wouter Wippert. Five riders went away from 30km with the best classified rider at two minutes. The escape was controlled with a maximum of four minutes. Phil [Gaimon] and Joe [Dombrowski] worked hard in the final to help bring back the breakaway. Everyone else did his job and tried to bring Wouter in the wheel of Gavira. The final - a local lap of six kilometers - was crazy, and the team lost each other a bit. This group isn't used to working for a sprinter in the final but everybody did what he could."

 

Young FDJ sprinter hits the deck in decisive crash in Provence

Everything looked perfect for FDJ's Lorrenzo Manzin. After a breakaway of five riders, including his teammate Jeremy Maison, had been caught the whole team FDJ propelled the youngster to the front but he fell in the final corner, creating the split that allowed Etixx-QuickStep to make it a 1-2.

 

"Sébastien Chavanel and Kevin Reza did a great job to put Lorrenzo onto Gaviria's wheel," explains manager Marc Madiot. "I was in the last corner and I can tell you that our sprinter was fearless. He launched the sprint in the last corner which was a little tight and he slid out. If he had managed to stay upright, I think he would have upset the plan of the Belgian team."

 

Manzin got up quickly and crossed the finish line. "He has some road rash and will be in pain," explains sports director Franck Pineau. "But he will be there on Thursday in the sprint. His team works well and deserves more! "

 

King of the Mountains Remy Di Gregorio optimistic for Paris-Nice

Rémy Di Gregorio (Delko Marseille-Provence KTM) was in the break and took the mountains jersey.

 

"It's a good day spent at the front,” he told Directvelo. “I attacked on the first climb. We ended up with 5 in the front group. Already yesterday, the sensations were very good but I had a puncture in the final circuit. 

 

”Today I wanted to be in front to continue making efforts ahead of Paris-Nice. I also thought of the Mountains jersey as I scored points yesterday. It's a good thing for me and for the team. I will try to defend the jersey on stage 3 where I really find my training routes. These are the climbs that I like a lot. 

 

“This is also why I did not insist when Silin accelerated 60km from the finish. There were teams that chased behind. Since I was two minutes behind overall, I was perhaps destroying the breakaway. Tomorrow is the final day before Paris-Nice. I'm getting better and it's encouraging. " 

 

Thomas Voeckler after jersey defence: It was harder psychologically than physically

Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energy) Leader of the Tour Provence 

 

"It was a fairly typical day,” race leader Thomas Voeckler told Directvelo. “First we allowed a breakaway that was not too dangerous for us, to get clear. All the guys in the team did a superb job. I will mention them because I should name all six. 

 

“On the final circuit, it was necessary to remain vigilant in order not to be trapped by an echeclon and to prevent crashes. It was almost harder psychologically than physically in the final.  

 

“Ideally, I hope that tomorrow's stage will play out in the same way as today. We want to let a breakaway get away again, hoping that the sprint teams will come to support us in the finale. I will try to finish in the same time as the winner to win the overall. " 

 

BMC after dangerous day in Provence: The goal was just to stay safe

A crash in the final 300m of stage 2 of the Tour La Provence thwarted any chance of a bunch sprint, making way for Davide Martinelli (Etixx-Quick Step) to take the win.

 

A five rider breakaway gained a four-minute advantage over the peloton on the 185km stage from Miramas to Istres, until the second to last lap when the race came back together.

 

Loïc Vliegen attacked with 4km to go on the final lap of the Istres circuit, gaining six seconds on the peloton before he was brought back with 2km remaining.

 

The priority for today’s stage was to keep all eight riders safe, Sports Director Max Sciandri said.

 

“After yesterday’s stage, the plan was to get the guys to the circuit and see how the race was panning out. Loïc attacked with 4km to go and put in a good effort but it didn’t work out in the end. Despite the crash in the final 300m we had all of our guys cross the line safely which was the most important thing.”

 

Alessandro De Marchi remains in sixth place on the General Classification, 12 seconds behind race leader Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie). 

 

Tour La Provence wraps up tomorrow with stage 3, 173km from La Ciotat to Marseille.

 

Mourey finds his legs in Provence

Throughout the day, Fortuneo-Vital Concept took care of Chris-Anker Sorensen and Anthony Delaplace who are 5th and 15th respectively.. 

 

It is the first race of the year on the way to Francis Mourey. The current French cyclocross champion feels good even though he knows he must build a stronger base. "I must now be able to hold the energy that I developed for 1 hour of cyclo-cross, for about five hours."

 

Forced to abandon yesterday because of knee pain, Pierrick Fedrigo was able to ride today. He will resume competition in the weekend. 

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