INTERMARCHÉ
WANTY GOBERT

Tour de l'Ain

Minali returns into competition with a 6th place


The flat opening stage at the Tour de l’Ain (2.1, 29-31/7) only inspired three riders to attack. The international trio was given freedom from the peloton from the start. Team Arkea Samsic and Deceuninck – Quick Step showed their ambition by leading the chase. The maximal advantage of less than 3 minutes foreshadowed a bunch sprint. A hill of fourth category with 20 kilometer to go didn’t influence the race. Riccardo Minali took up the challenge against the other sprinters in the streets of Bourg-en-Bresse. The Italian sprinter finished 6th in the race won by Alvaro Hodeg.

Finishing 6th is not exceptional but satisfying for a first race after a long period without competition. I think I was able to do better as I lost quite some energy in the final 5 kilometer. I had to move up from the back after being hindered by a crash. I was the sixth rider going through the last corner and maintained this position until the finish line. I’m more motivated than ever before because nice goals are waiting for me. I want to perform, and therefore I’ve been working on weight loss for example. Tomorrow will be difficult, but I’ll fight and try to follow as long as possible. Hopefully I’ll be in a position to sprint for the victory again!

The 141 kilometer stage was an excellent warm up for the next two days in the middle mountains. This Friday, the second stage with start in Lagnieu contains four categorized climbs. After 105 kilometer, the riders will reach the top of the Col de Portes situated at 1001 meter of altitude. After the descent and passage through the start village, 16 flat kilometer have to be covered until the finish in Saint-Vulbas.

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