Tour de la Provence stage 2: Alex Aranburu sprints to third in Manosque
Alex Aranburu delivered the first podium for Astana – Premier Tech in 2021, taking third place at the finish atop the short uncategorized climb in Manosque on stage 2 of the Tour de la Provence.
It was expected that stage 2 would be much harder than the previous opening day with difficult weather conditions and a hilly profile in the second part of the stage likely to make a good selection in the main group.
There were just a handful of attacks from the bunch after the day’s breakaway of five riders had been caught back and with none of the attacking riders able to establish a gap, the peloton stayed all together until the final uncategorized climb in the town of Manosque.
It was Astana – Premier Tech who took the responsibility in the main group with 2.5 kilometres to go, with the team lined out in front to increase the pace. Gorka Izagirre and Omar Fraile did an excellent job, bringing Alexey Lutsenko, Aleksandr Vlasov, and Alex Aranburu in front for the final climb of the day.
Unfortunately, Vlasov crashed on a slippery road with one kilometre remaining, while Lutsenko continued working hard in front, providing a strong lead-out for Aranburu.
In the end, the stage was decided in an uphill sprint, won by yesterday’s winner and the current race leader Davide Ballerini, followed by Giulio Ciccone and Alex Aranburu, who finished third.
“I was really motivated to do this stage in a good way because I knew it suited me well. I felt good during the day, but the final of the stage was quite nervous with a lot of tension in the group. Despite a very good job of my teammates with some three kilometres to the finish line, I lost my position because of the movements in the group, so I had to spend a lot of energy to fight back to the front. Also, because of the crash of Aleksandr Vlasov I had to break and start my sprint again. Well, I finished third. I think it is a nice result as we are just at the second stage of our first race of the season”, – said Alex Aranburu.
“We can be happy with the way we raced this stage. We started the day with a good plan, and I can say, that the guys followed it perfectly. Honestly, we were expecting a more selective race with more action and we were ready to follow the attacks and to try something. However, it came down to a sprint and here the team did a great job for Alex Aranburu as was planned. Unfortunately, due to a late crash of Aleksandr Vlasov, Aranburu lost a few positions and had to come back, losing seconds and energy. Anyway, we are on the podium today and it’s a good start”, – added Dmitriy Fofonov, Team Performance Manager.
Fortunately, Vlasov was able to finish the stage and while the first quick checkup did not reveal any serious injuries, an additional medical examination will be conducted tonight.
Tour de la Provence
Stage 2: Cassis – Manosque, (174.6km)
Top 3: 1. Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck – Quick Step); 2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek – Segafredo); 3. Alex Aranburu (Astana – Premier Tech).
Astana – Premier Tech Top-3: 3. Alex Aranburu; 6. Alexey Lutsenko; 26. Harold Tejada.
Photo credit: @ByWilliamCannarella