The final 136-kilometer stage which drew to a tough conclusion with both of the day’s categorized climbs coming inside the final 20 kilometers of the day and in the end, two races played out on the slopes of the Col du Corps de Garde and the Mont Faron.
When the breakaway reached the final six-kilometer climb to the finish line, which had an average gradient of eight percent, just six of the original 12 riders remained in front but with their advantage still sitting out at over three minutes, the group had enough time in hand to battle for the stage win.
As Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) was taking the stage win, a small group of just 15 riders was racing for their place in the General Classification after the stage started with the top 17 separated by just 40 seconds.
It was inside the last two kilometers that the attacks began from this group with Nairo Quintana (Team Arkea – Samsic) making his move to secure the overall title and Masnada and Valter racing hard to secure their places in the top ten.
After an intense fight, Masnada finished in 15th place with Valter just behind him in 16th and this result, which saw them cross the line 2’45” and 2’49” behind the winner respectively, helped them to secure ninth and 10th place on the General Classification.
Valter’s strong climbing abilities were evident over all three days of racing, including his fifth place on stage one, and he was rewarded with the white jersey as winner of the Best Young Rider Classification.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“I am quite satisfied with how I raced on this last stage at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. I was hoping for some better sensations on the last climb and I tried to follow Bardet, Quintana, and Porte but I paid for that effort in the last 500 meters and, unfortunately, wasted a lot of time. However, I came here looking for a result in the top ten in General Classification and I managed to do that so I am pleased as I head home to start preparing for my next goals in March.”
“I felt really strong over the last couple days and I knew a good result was possible for me here. Today, just like every day, we worked really well as a team and we managed to keep myself and Fausto at the front of the bunch for the final descent so we could start Mont Faron in the best positions. The tempo was high and not steady so I decided to go on my own pace. I think it was the right tactic for me today because I caught a lot of guys in the final kilometers as well Storer, who owned the white jersey at the start of the day. I gave my best in the final meters and was rewarded with my first leader’s jersey for CCC Team. I’m super happy to stand on the podium next to riders like Quintana, Bardet and Porte, and to finish top 10 in my second race of the year. I think many more great things will come this season.”
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var
Stage 2: La Londe > Mont Faron (136km)
Top 3: 1. Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) 2. Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) 3. Lars Van Den Berg (Groupama – FDJ)
CCC Team Top 3: 15. Fausto Masnada 16. Attila Valter 29. Serge Pauwels
Top 3 on GC: 1. Nairo Quintana (Team Arkea – Samsic) 2. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) 3. Richie Porte (Trek – Segafredo)
CCC Team Top 3 on GC: 9. Fausto Masnada 10. Attila Valter 21. Serge Pauwels