Pedrero celebrates the victory on the stage
By Kevin Kemp
Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) won the three-day Tour de l’Ain. | Photo: Cor Vos
08/11/2022 | (rsn) – Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) withstood numerous attacks in the third and final stage of the Tour de l’Ain (2.1) to celebrate his second victory of the season after his success in stage 2. Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) won the final stage of the day over 131 kilometers between Plateau d’Hauteville and Lélex. The Spaniard broke away from a breakaway of three at the start and crossed the finish line as a soloist. Second on the day was Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal) ahead of George Bennett (UAE Team Emirates). In the overall table, Mattias Skjelmose (Trek – Segafredo) and Rudy Molard (Groupama – FDJ) completed the podium).
It was not easy for Martin on the platform with four climbs. Both early breakaways Pedrero and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpa Vinyl) and late efforts from Bennett and Jaakko Hanninen (AG2R Citroën) put the man in yellow under pressure. But Martin kept a cool head with his team. They keep all competitors at a sufficient distance for him to win overall.
“Today’s competition is special, very complicated, technically and strategically. From the beginning it was driven hard. I have a strong team today. Everyone did well and we put on a good show,” the 29-year-old said at the end of the interview. “In the end we cannot lose our peace. There are still mechanical problems in the final stage, but we can solve them well. I saved my last strength. In the end, the right thing came out of it,” he said happily.
Hannes Wilksch (German national team), who was the leader in the mountain classification before the start, drove a strong race, 23 years old and defended his special jersey in front of Pedrero.
Here’s how the contest goes:
Out of the split with Alaphilippe and Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Pedrero is the strongest rider. The Spaniard left his friend behind and entered the Col de Menthières (Cat.1) with a lead of four minutes.
At only 2:06 minutes, Pedero was a threat to the overall leader whose team controlled the field and was able to reduce the gap to Mante’s top leader to 2:45 minutes with a distance of 22 kilometers. . However, Bennett, who was eighth overall, attacked after early work from Luxembourg stagiaire Arthur Kluckers and took a half-minute lead against a heavily depleted group.
Shortly after the start of the last flat climb to Lelex, Martin Bennett and Jaakko Hanninen (AG2R Citroën), who had hurried on the descent, could catch again. With ten kilometers to go, the group of seven wearing the yellow jersey is behind as Pedrero is on the overall table.
However, the pace of the favorite was not very high, so Sweeny was able to come back about seven kilometers from the finish. The Australian did not hesitate and pulled away again with Bennett at the rear wheel. The sextet around Martin cooperated well from that moment on and never let Ocean’s lead exceed 20 seconds.
But Pedrero can no longer be harmed. He crossed the finish line as a soloist. 1:16 behind, Sweeny and Bennett took bonus seconds that could have been dangerous for Martin.
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