INTERMARCHÉ
WANTY GOBERT

Tour de l'Ain

Zimmermann’s first pro victory is a double win


After Minali’s 6th place in the flat opening stage, the second stage of the Tour de l’Ain (2.1, 29-31/7) was even more successful for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. 136 kilometer with four categorized climbs were on the menu. A duo escaped from the peloton after the start in Lagnieu and before the first slopes of the Col de Corlier. Many breakaway attempts succeeded each other, leaving only a small amount of riders in the peloton on the plateau between this climb and the top of the Col de Ballon.

Neo pro Théo Delacroix attacked on the downhill, before being caught with 45 kilometer to go by a group of around 50 riders with Jan Hirt and Georg Zimmermann. Somewhat later, the German rider followed the example of his teammate on the slopes of the Col d’Ordonnaz. However, when his attack was neutralized, he missed a breakaway of five riders. The fifteen remaining chasers worked well together in the descent of the Col de Portet, with the top situated at 1001 meter of altitude, but didn’t manage to close the 20 second gap to the leaders. Except for Georg Zimmermann, who bridged to the leaders in the final 4 kilometer. He defeated his five breakaway companions with a long sprint in the streets of Saint-Vulbas. The 23 year old German rider took his first pro victory and also becomes the new race leader.

Of course I'm more than happy with my first professional victory! I took advantage from our excellent teamwork in the beginning of the stage today. After a neutralized attack on the final climb of the day, I was mad at myself for missing the successful breakaway of five riders. With 4 kilometer to go, I saw an opportunity to bridge the 20 second gap on my own. I felt really strong, but I had to recover from this effort. There was not much time, because we entered the final kilometer. As it started to rain a little, I wanted to go first through the final tight corner. It was still far to the finish line, but I gave all I had and managed to stay ahead to take my first pro win and the leader's position! The level here is high, so it will be a big challenge to defend the leader's jersey in the queen stage. I'll need at least the same legs as today, but I'm confident that we'll ride a good race as a team tomorrow. I've been here several times and I like the region and the courses. Each year, the Tour de l'Ain is a goal for me and today I was victorious!

Everything fell into place today! This morning, we decided that Georg was our only leader for today's stage and that his five teammates would make sure that the young German rider was well positioned at the bottom of all climbs. At first, we thought that the small peloton with Georg would close the gap with the five leaders and sprint for the victory, but his instinct understood that he had to find another solution. Zimmermann went through the final corner first, as we studied together before the race, resulting in a victory! An important task is waiting for us now. I don't expect much help from other teams to defend our leader's jersey, so we'll have to come up with a strong tactical plan!

Jean-Marc Rossignon (Sports Director) Tweet

This Saturday, the Tour de l’Ain will be concluded by the queen stage between Izernore and Lélex Monts-Jura. This third stage is a succession of descents and ascents, like the Côte de Giron (3.7km at 7.4%) and the Col de Menthières (9.1km at 6.3%). The last named climb is the last of five categorized climbs with the top situated 22 kilometer before the finish. However, the 12 final kilometer towards Lélex Monts-Jura are also uphill. 

 

Photo: Tour de l’Ain

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