Ballerini snatches the victory and the leadership from Démare

The Italian won the sprint after a great comeback against Démare. His teammate Alaphilppe, on the run for most of the day, was neutralized with 2 kilometers to go.


Deceuninck is back on track at this start to the cycling season in 2021. Last season, the powerful Belgian squad, the great dominator of victories in recent years, finished with 39 successes in the strange 2020 campaign, more than anyone else. This season he already has the first after succeeding, at the sprint, on the opening day of the Tour de la Provence, designed by Davide Ballerini. The Italian sprinter achieved a brilliant comeback against an Arnaud Démare who seemed to have victory very close after launching the sprint with great power, as he did in his victories (four) of the past Giro. It is the third consecutive year that the Belgian team has won the first stage of the race after the conquests of Viviani in 2019 and Bennett in 2020.

Along with Ballerini, the other protagonist of the day was the world champion, Julian Alaphilippe, who once again wore the rainbow in style. The initial break of the day was formed by Calmejane (Ag2r) and the Galician Delio Fernández, from Delko. However, they did not come to fruition and were caught by the squad ... who gave no respite. After the neutralization, Cavagna jumped, one of the best riders in the peloton, but it was a strategic move for the team as Alaphilippe jumped right after. Seventy kilometers from the finish line. Moscon (Ineos) and Ciccone (Trek) jumped on his wheel, to form a high-quality trio that came to dream of victory. The rainbow was the first to go through the bonus steps ... which ultimately did not count for the organization.

In this way, the three heads who came to dream of victory (they were close to a minute and a half ahead), were neutralized with two kilometers to go. Ciccone and Moscon already dropped, but not Alaphilippe, who also helped prepare the sprint for his teammates and was an important part of launching the finish. Démare anticipated everyone, Ballerini was locked against the fences and, despite lagging behind, managed to prevail and be the first leader. "Opt for the general? Me? No, no," said the Italian laughing at the finish line. Alex Aranburu, from Astana, was 15th, the best Spaniard. This Friday, second of the four days. There will be 174 km of uneven terrain ending in Manosque.

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