Team News – Double Victory for Quickstep’s Vakoc


After winning Classic Sud-Ardèche on Saturday, the 23-year-old Czech champion Petr Vakoc came out on top also in Drôme Classic for Etixx Quickstep

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Team News – Double Victory for Quickstep’s Vakoc 


Vakoc reigns in Classic Sud-Ardèche


©Etienne Garnier

The writing was on the wall for some time now, more exactly in the past two weeks, which saw Petr Vakoc put on a strong ride in both Tour du Haut Var and Tour La Provence, races which he finished each time in the top five, taking home the best young riders jersey. Day after day, he improved his condition and came closer to the win, missing out on his maiden victory of the season for just a handful of seconds in La Provence. Fortunately, the 23-year-old he didn’t have to wait too much until breaking the ice, the 182.7-km long Classic Sud-Ardèche providing him the ideal opportunity to do that.

The day has started with a five-man break which stayed at the front until the final 20 kilometers, the last rider to be caught being Odd Christian Eiking (FDJ) under the impetuous pace of Etixx – Quick-Step. While many were left behind, other cyclists attacked and forced a selection, among the ones to make it to the front being Petr Vakoc and Pieter Serry. First who tried to get clear from that reduced group was Serry, the 27-year-old Belgian being joined by three men. That move was a short-lived one, as they were reeled in on the last climb of the race.

On the descent, with just a few kilometers left to the finish, new attacks came, and one of these had Vakoc as protagonist. The Czech champion couldn’t get a gap, but that didn’t matter in the end, as in the run-in of Guilherand-Granges he proved to be the fastest and won ahead of Julien Simon (Cofidis) and Olivier Pardini (Wallonie Bruxelles), notching his first victory of the season and the team’s 14th since January.

“It was a hard and demanding race, all the time up and down on narrow roads. The team did an absolutely amazing job controlling the escape, which allowed me to save energy until the real action began, with 16 kilometers to go. After Pieter was caught, I attacked inside the final 5 kilometers, but it came up to a bunch sprint, which I started early, with 300 meters to go, and managed to hold the others off”, said Petr right after the finish.

Following his fifth victory in the pro ranks, the young Czech looks with confidence to the second French race of the week-end, Drôme Classic, scheduled on Sunday: “I feel great now and I’m very happy for finally taking a win, after being so close a couple of days ago. It’s a special moment also because this is the first time I have won as pro in a sprint, which was something regular for me as an U23 rider. Tomorrow will be a race more or less similar. The terrain is hilly and this suits me, but also my teammates can have a go there. We have many riders in good condition, and this gives us many options.”


Vakoc makes the double in France

After winning Classic Sud-Ardèche on Saturday, the 23-year-old came out on top also in Drôme Classic.

Petr Vakoč put an end to his February campaign in a fantastic way, by becoming the first rider to take the victory in both Classic Sud-Ardèche and Drôme Classic, two hilly races that were very much to the Czech champion’s liking. Once again, he delivered at the finish, after another excellent day of the team, which had our riders stay at the head of the peloton, controlling the gap of the four escapees: Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R), Jérémy Cornu (Direct Energie), Guillaume Levarlet (HP-BTP Auber 93) and Anthony Perez (Cofidis).

In the final 30 kilometers of the Drôme Classic (Livron – Livron, 203.8 km), the break was reabsorbed, and as soon as that happened, David De La Cruz accelerated from the pack and got a small gap together with Arnold Jeannesson (Cofidis) and Pierre-Roger Latour (AG2R). Unfortunately for David, it was to no avail, because they were caught on a climb by the chasing group, which included Gianluca Brambilla. The latter was also in the mix, reacting to an attack of Romain Bardet (AG2R) on the last hill, but they too were joined by others.



From the second group, Jan Bakelants (AG2R) used the final climb of the race as springboard and was quickly followed by Petr Vakoč. The two worked hard and caught the riders at the front, then passed right by them and fought for the victory in a two-man sprint, which saw Petr come out on top, taking back-to-back wins for the first time in his career. Arthur Vichot (FDJ) rounded out the podium, while another Etixx – Quick-Step rider, Pieter Serry, finished 5th.

“I am extremely happy to score another victory, 24 hours after the one in Classic Sud-Ardèche. It’s really incredible. Once again, the race was hard, with narrow roads, which forced us to be at all times at the front, fighting for a good position. When Bakelants attacked, I jumped immediately into his wheel and we managed to catch the group at the front and leave those riders behind. I knew the finale and it was very important to enter first in that last corner. Bakelants anticipated me and was the first to go into that corner, but I found the power to come back and outsprint him in the final 50 meters”, said Petr Vakoč before climbing to the podium.

The Czech rider, who is poised to make his Strade Bianche debut next week-end, continued: “If yesterday I was under pressure, today I was more relaxed. Everything went as planned and we were in the thick of the action during the whole race, with the likes of David, Pieter and Gianluca. The team was fantastic yet again. I’m very satisfied for becoming the first rider to do the Classic Sud-Ardèche – Drôme Classic double. These wins come after my hard training in the off-season. I worked relentlessly in order to be competitive in the first part of the season and I’m happy that it all paid off very early this year.”

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