Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var: Stage 3

Trek Segafredo rider Gianluca Brambilla has won the last stage of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var and with it the overall. Tao Geoghegan Hart was second on the stage.

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Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var: Stage 3

Trek Segafredo rider Gianluca Brambilla has won the last stage of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var and with it the overall. Tao Geoghegan Hart was second on the stage.

The Italian Brambilla was part of a large leading group on the mountainous stage before going solo and winning the stage on his own after 136 mountainous kilometers. The final stage saw an big breakaway of sixteen riders; Rudy Molard, Valentin Madouas, Nans Peters, David De la Cruz, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Gianluca Brambilla, Martijn Tusveld, Jimmy Janssens and Simon Clarke. Seven of these were within half a minute of race leader Michael Woods.

The leading selection opened up a gap of more than a minute on the Israel Start-Up Nation led peloton over the Col Saint-Roch (the first major climb). On the second major climb of the day, the Col de Braus, De la Cruz went clear of his rivals in the breakaway and was accompanied by Brambilla, Geoghegan Hart, Madouas, Molard, Janssens, Tusveld, Alexis Vuillermoz, Julien El Farès and Bruno Armirail. They put the pursuers at about 50 seconds and the peloton at 2.30 minutes.

Out front, Armirail turned out to have an impressive engine, thinning out the leading group on his own. Only Madouas, Molard, Geoghegan Hart, Brambilla and Gorka Izagirre could follow him. In the peloton, Israel Start-Up Nation continued to work hard to bring the leaders back.

Over the last fifteen kilometres there was an uncategorized climb on which Brambilla managed to get rid of his companion in the lead Madouas, to go solo. Brambilla was proving too strong for his rivals as he opened up a gap of 35 seconds on Madouas, Molard and Geoghegan Hart and kept the yellow jersey group of Woods at 45 seconds. The last eight kilometres were on wide roads and downhill and there the differences between the groups became clearly visible.

The group with Woods and Mollema just missed catching the group with Madouas, Molard, Geoghegan Hart and Ben O’Connor as Brambilla solo’d hois way to victory and the overall win by 13 seconds ahead of Geoghegan Hart and O’Connor and 18 seconds ahead of the Woods group.

Gianluca Brambilla “It was a really hard and tough day. I managed to be in the first breakaway. I played my cards well there, I was smart, and of course Groupama, with three really strong guys, did most of the work,” explained Brambilla. “I had a problem with my radio, I was without radio, so I had no info in the finale for time gaps. Then (director) Greggy Rast came to me in the car and told me ‘you have to give everything; you have to drop everyone if you want to go for the stage and GC.’ I was thinking of the stage, not GC,” said Brambilla.

Brambilla’s attack left a cramping Madouas behind, and the Italian hit out for home. With 11 kilometers remaining, and a furious pursuit behind, it was touch and go until the final meters. “In the final k, I was really suffering,” admitted Brambilla. “I knew behind they were pushing really hard to catch me. In the end, it worked out for the win and overall.”

“To be honest, I only thought about the stage victory and not the general classification, but after that I gave everything,” he says with relief. “It was a long time, since 2016, that I was waiting for a win. I want to thank the people in the team who have supported me in these times, especially when things have not gone as expected. I want to say thanks to John Burke (CEO Trek) and Luca Guercilena (GM Trek-Segafredo) that in the past year, they always believed in me. Even if something difficult happened, I always gave 100% and always 100% did my job. I think this was a way to pay them back,” said Brambilla.

“I know my role in the team is to be a domestique; this win does not change this. Today was an opportunity for myself, and the team, and we did a perfect job,” he added. It was not surprising that Brambilla felt good in the Tour du Var. “I’ve been living near here, in Monaco, for four years and I know the roads well,” he says. “My next race is the Trofeo Laigueglia, also close to home. We will see how that turns out.!

Michael Woods, : “Everybody in the team was riding so well today. Five of our guys were in the front at the bottom of the Col de la Madone with only about 30 riders left in the whole bunch. That shows you how strong we were all day, controlling and chasing at such a high pace.” He lost his teammates Dan Martin and Hugo Hofstetter at crucial moments due to bad luck. “We had to slow down for them to return. If it hadn’t happened, it would have made all the difference. Close to the top, when my teammates had already given me all they had, I had no choice but to push it by myself”. “I think I was going really hard, and I felt pretty strong, finishing just five seconds away from the overall victory. Our super-inspiring performance from everyone here will give us a lot of confidence and the momentum we need as we go to our next races.”

Dan Martin: “The fact we are so frustrated at second in GC shows the ambition this team has now. The atmosphere and work ethic of the guys was exceptional the last three days, and we all pulled together to control the race the whole day. We gave everything to get Mike back in the game and I think he showed he was the strongest in the race. So frustrating to come so close, but we will learn from these days and improve for the next races.”

Jakob Fuglsang: “Today was the final stage and the team did a great job. We had three guys in the break and I was able to bridge across on the last climb before we faced the downhill towards the finish. I finished in sixth place and eighth on the overall, all in all I am satisfied with my form so far. My upcoming races will be Ardeche Classic and Drome Classic before heading to Italy for the Spring Classics so I hope to continue to build on my form.”

Nairo Quintana “I have a good record in this Tour des Alpes-Maritimes a Var which marked my resumption in competition for this 2021 season. I was close to the very best in this event, and above all I was able to start a good job in view of my future goals. What is really a shame are the crashes of Romain Hardy and Miguel Florez since both were forced to retire. This inevitably affected the course of the Team Arkéa-Samsic race. I would like to thank my teammates once again for their invaluable help. Little by little we are going to consolidate the achievements made during this event. The intentions are there on behalf of all, we are all united in the perspective of the first important objectives for the Arkéa-Samsic team, which will arrive very soon “.

Martijn Tusveld (part of the breakaway): Tusveld’s efforts out front weren’t in vain as he collected the KOM jersey. “Today it was an all or nothing stage for a lot of teams and at only 130 kilometres in distance, it was clear that it would be full gas from the start,” explained Tusveld. “On the first climb I attacked with a small group and later on a lot of guys joined us which included some GC threats. That caused the peloton to not give us too much space. Although there were a lot of strong guys in the break, I tried to go for the mountains jersey and got second on the first Cat-1 climb and first in the second Cat-1 climb. That gave me enough points to win the mountain jersey. Personally, the first two days I didn’t have the best legs but I’m happy the feeling improved today and we could take a nice prize home for the team.”

Bauke Mollema: he may not have won the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var, his day could not have ended any better as teammate Gianluca Brambilla of Trek-Segafredo managed to win the final stage and the general classification “Our tactics worked perfectly,” says Mollema afterwards. “I was expecting a crazy day, especially with this course. It went up and down all day, a real mountain stage”.

“We were lucky that we still had Brambilla well up in the standings, just like Giulio Ciccone. Before the start, our tactic was to send them into the big groups, because then we didn’t have to chase ”, says Mollema. “That worked perfectly, because he didn’t have to ride in the leading group. This allowed him to wait for the Col de la Madone. Behind it, Israel Start-Up Nation had to do all the work. That was a perfect situation for us, and the best possible outcome to end this week.”

“It’s nice to start the season like this, with a podium place and a stage win. The team is also doing well. We have won two of the three stages, the green points jersey and two riders on the podium. All in all, a perfect lap for us. Hopefully we can continue like this ”, says Mollema.

1. Gianluca Brambilla Trek-Segafredo 03:43:32
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart INEOS Grenadiers @ 13
3. Ben O’Connor AG2R Citroën Team @ 13
4. Rudy Molard Groupama-FDJ @ 13
5. Valentin Madouas Groupama-FDJ @ 13
6. Jakob Fuglsang Astana-Premier Tech @ 18
7. David Gaudu Groupama-FDJ @ 18
8. Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo @ 18
9. Nairo Quintana Arkéa-Samsic @ 18
10. Michael Woods Israel Start-Up Nation @ 18

15. Ben Tulett
22. Simon Carr
25. Geraint Thomas
37. Tom Pidcock
95. Stuart Balfour

Full Result 



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