Etixx – Quick-Step with 3 riders in Haut Var top 15
Our team will have several cards to play going into the last day of the French race.
The second half of February will find Etixx – Quick-Step compete in four French events, and the first one in the calendar is the Tour du Haut Var, which kicked-off on Saturday, with a short, but rolling stage between Le Cannet des Maures and Bagnols-en-Forêt (155 kilometers). Six riders got a green light and went into the escape – Franck Bonnamour (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Joeri Calleeuw (Verandas Willems), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Pierre-Roger Latour (AG2R), Gaetan Pons (Wallonie-Bruxelles) and Daniele Ratto (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) – building a maximum gap of 6:20.
Despite the big advantage, they were all caught, and the real race began, as Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) and Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) attacked on the last climb. With 500 meters to go, Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale) jumped clear, managed to hold off the peloton and to take the victory, ahead of Arthur Vichot (FDJ) and Mikael Cherel (AG2R). Etixx – Quick-Step had a strong presence in the small group to hit the finish, Petr Vakoč (9th) and Maxime Bouet (13th) coming in the same time with the winner, while Pieter Serry arrived just six seconds later, in 14th position. Besides his top 10 on the stage and in the overall, Vakoč is also leading the youth classification.
The last stage of the Tour du Haut Var will take place around Draguignan and will include seven categorized climbs, the last one coming with less than 20 kilometers to go.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele