Mollema is the first leader after conquering the top of Gourdon

The Dutchman won ahead of Belgian Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet (Ag2r Citroën) and Frenchman Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ).


The Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo) is the first leader of the Tour of the Alpes-Maritimes and Var by winning the first stage between Biot and Gourdon, of 186.8 kilometers, in a high finish where the favorites were shown.

Mollema, born in Groningen 34 years ago, was the strongest on a last climb where the illustrious names of the race fought for the first place, which finally the Dutch cyclist took slightly ahead of the Belgian Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet ( Ag2r Citroën), the French Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) and the Canadian Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) .

Spanish Jesús Herrada (Cofidis) entered the fight for victory in a demanding finish, but the Cuenca runner entered eighth place 3 seconds behind Mollema, the same time as the group of Nairo Quintana, Geriant Thomas and Gorka Izagirre

First success since 2019 for Mollema, who opened his account this season and will be able to defend the leader's jersey on the second day. Winner of Il Lombardía, the Clásica de San Sebastián and stages in Tour and Vuelta, the Dutchman is a man for the general of the greats in the Trek Segafredo, along with the Italian Vincenzo Nibali.

The first getaway of the race was formed after multiple attempts by the more modest teams, ready to challenge a steep course with a high finish, at the top of the Col de Gourdon, which had to be tackled in three steps.

Among the escapees was the Spaniard from Burgos BH Óscar Cabedo, who set out with Leveau, Maurelet, Vergaerde and Wirtgen with the permission of a platoon that was not nervous about the adventure. The maximum rent was 6 minutes in the intermediate pass called Raymond Poulidor, at km 29.

Ineos took responsibility for controlling the leak, which stabilized around 3 minutes as the last section of the stage approached, with the 3 climbs of 14 kms at a 3.9 percent difference in altitude to Gourdon, port stretched out, not traumatic, but feared at this point in the season.

In the first pass over the top, the delay of the peloton towed by the Dutchman Van Baarle (Ineos) was 2 minutes. In the second the vanguard group was dispersed, as well as the platoon, victim in large part by the strong rhythm of the squad of Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan, which showed their intentions to control the general.

The last survivor, the Belgian Otto Vergaerde (Alpecin Fenix), delivered his illusions 300 meters from the summit banner. Regrouping of a small peloton that was already going to unreservedly manage the last and decisive climb to decide who was going to be the first leader of the Tour of the Alpes-Maritimes and Var.

The descent of the port was a festival of attacks that further divided the platoon, which was already marching in ruins. The Ag2r with Oliver Nassen tried to open a gap, but the Trek of Mollema and the Italian climber Giulio Ciccone had a tailor-made finish and ruined the attempt. The party exploded on the decisive 8 kilometers ascent to the medieval town of Gourdon. Geraint Thomas appeared from afar to show gallons of favorites and reduce the last brave who tried to surprise.

Leaving others to move, the Welshman positioned himself in the lead, but without letting go of the whip against the onslaught of Groupama de Pinot and Gaudu, on the lookout for the first leader's jersey, like the Ag2r before an ideal finish for Van Avermaet. With the disorder installed in the head, Mollema played his cards with a start that was definitive. A couple of seconds were enough to take the stage and be the first leader of the race.

The second stage presents more rugged territory in the 168.9 kilometers that start and end in Fayence. The end can be interesting with a 1,200 meter climb with a 9.8 percent drop.

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