Tour of Normandie: Blain 3rd for Raleigh-GAC

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Frenchman Alex Blain (Raleigh-GAC) was third on an eventful first road stage in the Tour of Normandie in France.

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The British team, Raleigh-GAC came into the stage with New Zealander rider, Tom ‘the Scud’ Scully leading the race after a win by a single second in the prologue time trial. That stage win took the pressure off the team having achieved one of their goals on day 1 and with so many bonus seconds on offer in sprints and at the end of the stage, it was always going to be hard to control the race and the yellow jersey.

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The stage today was 201 kilometres over typically French rolling terrain in what could be classed as positively tropical conditions with temperatures of 9 or 10 degrees and only a few showers to remind the riders that it’s not all a cycle in the sunshine. “The stage was on roads that were up and down and narrow in and out of villages all day” explained manager Cherie Pridham.

The climbs, some steep, were anywhere from 500 metres to two kilometres long and the manager explained that the Raleigh-GAC team were happy for a break to go. “We controlled it on the road and I was very pleased with how the riders controlled the race. We had to sacrifice a few riders to do that. Eric Berthou (Raleigh-GAC – France) for example did a storming ride to bring the break back inside 10k to go and we looked good for the bunch sprint” explained manager Cherie Pridham.

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Above: Tom Scully on the podium after his win in the prologue. He crashed today but is said to be okay.

With four kilometres to go though there was an almighty crash but none of the Raleigh team were affected as they were busy on the front with their lead out for the yellow jersey explained the team manager. But, then there was another crash between one and two kilometres to go and in that the race leader Tom Scully came down.

“We don’t have the yellow jersey (Leopard Trek do) but we tried to contain the race as much as possible to stay in contention. With three separate incidents inside the last four kilometres, we lost our lead out a bit but Alex Blain still managed to finish third and get some bonus seconds.”

Tom Scully apparently is fine after his crash with the usual abrasions and after such an eventful stage, the team are looking forward to seeing what the damage is in terms of seconds lost and see where they lie on the GC. Another stage win is still a goal for the squad in a race which Blain has won before (2011) and with the bonus seconds on offer on the stages to come, that can also help the team on the GC.

“It’s very early days in the race. With the bonus seconds, the lead could change every day and so it’s critical we stay near the front and keep our focus on the race” explained the team manager. Raleigh-GAC are still expecting their riders to all be within touching distance of the race lead depending on what the judges do after all the falls in that closing period of the race.

Note: As Tom Scully clearly crashed in the finale we understand an appeal would have been lodged to recover the lost time on the overall.

Video Highlights (French)

Stage Result

1 SILVESTRE Fabio Leopard – Trek Continental Team 4:39:51
2 VERMELTFOORT Coen Cycling Team de Rijke-Shanks
3 BLAIN Alexandre Team Raleigh – GAC
4 HUREL Tony Europcar
5 NIKOLAEV Sergey Itera – Katusha

33 CUMING Michael Rapha Condor 0:11
39 HANDLEY Richard Rapha Condor
42 LAVERACK Ed Rapha Condor
48 GRIVELL-MELLOR Luke Rapha Condor
80 NORRIS Lachlan Team Raleigh – GAC @ 45
85 LANG Richard Team Raleigh – GAC
93 CHRISTIAN Mark Team Raleigh – GAC
95 SCULLY Thomas Team Raleigh – GAC
97 BERTHOU Eric Team Raleigh – GAC
102 MCLAUGHLIN James Sojasun espoir-ACNC
113 HOUSE Kristian Rapha Condor 1:33
140 BUGGLE Aaron Rapha Condor 6:06

OVERALL
1 SILVESTRE Fabio Leopard – Trek Continental Team 04:44:25
2 LUDVIGSSON Fredrik Team People4you – Unaas Cycling 00:07
3 DILLIER Silvan BMC Development Team 00:08
4 VERMELTFOORT Coen Cycling Team de Rijke-Shanks 00:12
5 THOMEL Tino Team NSP – Ghost 00:13
6 NOVAK Jakub BMC Development Team 00:14
7 TURGIS Anthony CC Nogent sur Oise 00:15
8 KüNG Stefan BMC Development Team
9 TURGIS Jimmy CC Nogent sur Oise
10 TRONET Steven Big Mat – Auber 93 00:16

30 BLAIN Alexandre Team Raleigh – GAC @26 secs
33 HANDLEY Richard Rapha Condor 00:28
48 LAVERACK Ed Rapha Condor @ 35
55 CUMING Michael Rapha Condor @ 38
68 SCULLY Thomas Team Raleigh – GAC 00:50
69 GRIVELL-MELLOR Luke Rapha Condor
77 MCLAUGHLIN James Sojasun espoir-ACNC @ 57
83 NORRIS Lachlan Team Raleigh – GAC
99 CHRISTIAN Mark Team Raleigh – GAC 01:17
116 LANG Richard Team Raleigh – GAC 01:40
118 HOUSE Kristian Rapha Condor 01:59
138 BUGGLE Aaron Rapha Condor 06:28

 

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