It took a long time for the day’s eight-rider breakaway to go clear with multiple early attacks, including moves including Lukasz Widsniowski and Joey Rosskopf, being pulled back by the peloton, which appeared to be concerned with the formation of any successful move after the escapees were able to fight for victory on stage one yesterday.
Finally, after around 50 kilometers, of the 175.7-kilometer course, the group including Zimmermann went clear and opened up a gap that reached a maximum of three minutes 50 seconds before the peloton started to pick up the pace heading onto the second categorized climb, the Col de Saint-Roch, with a little under 60 kilometers to go.
With the pressure being piled on behind them, the breakaway was swept up inside the final 20 kilometers of the stage before, approaching the 10-kilometer to go mark and the final uncategorized 4.5-kilometer climb, CCC Team moved up into the first positions of the reduced bunch poised for the battle to the finish line at the top of the Col d’Éze.
The attacks from the General Classification contender started soon after the climb started with Nairo Quintana (Team Arkea – Samsic) making a move that would eventually see him go on to take the stage win and move into the leader’s jersey while behind Masnada was CCC Team’s best-placed rider battling to fifth on the line as part of a small group of around 20 riders which crossed the line 40 seconds behind the winner.
After his fifth-place yesterday, Attila Valter also finished in the group with Masnada and now sits eighth on the General Classification while Masnada moved into sixth place and with the first 17 riders separated by just 40 seconds, tomorrow’s final stage it set to be exciting.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“Our strategy was to send one rider into the breakaway because our Sports Director, Steve Bauer thought that today could be another good opportunity for the breakaway to go all the way and race for the win. It turned out that many teams and riders wanted to go in the breakaway so, it took 45 kilometers of full gas racing for the breakaway to go clear. I felt good in the group and we were collaborating well but in the end, the peloton never gave us that much room so the group fell apart in the final 30 kilometers and were caught before the finish. We were two kilometers from the top of the KOM when I was caught by a reduced group of 25 riders and I felt good so I was able to stay with them until the top. I had a really nice day on the bike.”
“It was a very hard stage with 3700 meters of climbing and Zimmerman did a great job going in the breakaway. I have to thank the whole team today because they did a great job to help me start the last ascent in the first places in the peloton. We were the only team with all of our riders in the first group. As for me, I knew I was feeling good and I tried to follow Quintana when he attacked four kilometers from the finish. It was me and Thibaut Pinot in pursuit but it was impossible to reach him. In the last two kilometers, I returned to the other riders in the chasing group and I gave my maximum to look for a place in the final sprint. I finished in fifth position and I’m happy. Tomorrow there’s another hard stage and I’ll try to improve again.”
Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var
Stage 2: Pegomas > Éze (175.7km)
Top 3: 1. Nairo Quintana (Team Arkea – Samsic) 2. Simon Clarke (EF Pro Cycling) 3. Lilian Calmejane (Team Total Direct Energie)
CCC Team Top 3: 5. Fausto Masnada 15. Attila Valter 26. Serge Pauwels