Sénéchal posts impressive top 5 at Clasica de Almeria
After a final marred by crosswinds and crashes, the Frenchman nabbed his best result of the season.
Twenty four hours after racing his first European event of the season, Vuelta a Murcia, Florian Sénéchal pinned a number for the 33rd edition of Clasica de Almeria (185 kilometers), the Spanish one-day which had plenty of action in the second part, despite the flat profile. First hours of the race belonged to a seven-rider breakaway, which took their gap to five minutes, before the sprinters' teams decided to set a brisk tempo, thus cutting the escapees' advantage to half.
With some 60-odd kilometers to go, Maxim Belkov (Katusha-Alpecin) attacked and put some daylight between him and the other escapees, but the others reacted and reeled in the Russian; the skirmishes didn't stop there and Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) was next to try his chance, leaving his breakaway companions behind and trying to hold off the bunch, but to no avail, because the chasers were determined to bring everything back together.
Once the peloton returned to the coast, the strong crosswinds began impacting on the race, shattering the pack to pieces and leaving only 40 men in contention. Some riders managed to make it back and began working for a bunch gallop finish on the two-lap circuit in Almeria, but another incident – this time a crash – occurred with four kilometers to go, leaving less than 25 riders in the lead.
Florian Sénéchal got caught behind, but thanks to a gargantuesque effort of his Quick-Step Floors teammates, who pushed the pedal to the medal in pursuit of Mitchelton-Scott and LottoNL-Jumbo, the two teams driving the pace at the front, he made it back and got involved in the sprint; Caleb Ewan took the spoils ahead of Danny van Poppel, but Florian impressed with his solid fifth place in Roquetas del Mar, which came after a crazy chase.
"The plan at the start of the day was for me to sprint in case it came down to a bunch finish and I'm very glad for receiving this chance from the team, especially as it's be some time now since my last sprint. It was a bit stressful, but the guys protected me throughout the day and when I got stuck in that pile-up and thought it was over, my great teammates did an awesome job again, and despite the strong side wind, brought me back to the front", said Florian, who'll race Volta ao Algarve next week.
"Fifth place in these difficult conditions is a good result which makes me happy, especially as I came at the start after a tough Vuelta a Murcia. I am super impressed with the team's work; never before I have got such a tremendous help and this only motivates me to return the service to the boys in the next races."
Photo credit: ©Sigfrid Eggers