Solo Stage Win Seals Overall Victory for Sivakov in France21. May 2017, Saint-Girons (FRA) — Development Team
Pavel Sivakov took an emphatic overall victory in France today after riding solo over the closing 50km of Ronde de l’Isard stage 4 to secure his second stage win and the final leader’s yellow jersey of the week.
Following a fast opening 40km, which included the first of four category one climbs, the Col de Montsegur, 11 riders went clear before a six-rider breakaway started to extend a three-minute advantage over the BMC Development Team led peloton.
The pace being set at the front of the main bunch saw riders dropping off the back with just forty riders left on the approach to the Port de Lers.
As the race began to climb once again, the attacks started, and the peloton quickly exploded with five riders, including race leader, Sivakov, and Steff Cras, distancing themselves off the front and joining the three remaining breakaway riders with 56km to go.
With the final two climbs coming in the following 25km, there was no pause in the action as Sivakov launched a solo attack on the descent of the Col d'Agnès.
Sivakov's determination was evident as he began to extend his lead out on the road and soon he was hovering around one minute ahead of the chasing group, which still included Cras.
Inside 5km to go, this advantage had risen to 1'20" with Sivakov stamping his authority on the race and eventually punching the air with delight as he crossed the line to take his second stage win and secure the overall victory.
Behind him, Cras crossed the line fifth in the chasing group and, after consistently strong performances over the four-day race, headed onto the podium in third place on the General Classification, 3’23” behind Sivakov.
After a lot of hard work setting the pace a the front of the peloton in the opening part of the day, Pascal Eenkhoorn finished eighth on the stage.
The Winner’s Interview with Pavel Sivakov
Congratulations, Pavel. Can you describe how it feels to win this race?
"It's incredible to win at home. I can't believe it. I don't have the words to describe it. The team did a fantastic job all week, and this victory is also their victory."
Talk us through the moment you attacked on the descent of the penultimate climb.
"I knew the final, and I knew that there was a super tricky downhill so, I took it really fast and already had a twenty-second advantage at the bottom of the climb. I couldn't see the group behind me, and at that moment, I knew I needed to go full gas and try and make it to the finish because I had good legs today. I knew that it would be hard to organize a chase behind me. It was a really long valley; it was probably the longest valley of my life today. I am really happy that I could make it to the finish and I am super happy to have had a team like this around me. Now, if anyone needs my help at our next races, I will do it without hesitation. I will give 100% for them."
Did you expect to be so strong at this race?
"I have actually surprised myself at this race. I knew I had the ability to climb from last year, but this year, I feel that I've improved even more. I surprised myself when I was able to follow the best climbers and even win on these climbing stages. I knew that I was in great shape coming here and I definitely had the extra motivation of racing at home. It's also this motivation that was important for me here. You can be in great shape, but I think your performance also depends on your mental preparation for the race."
And looking ahead to the next few races.
"I think it is really great for the team's morale and confidence going into our next few races that everyone is riding really well. We also just won the first three places at GP Cham-Hagendorn in Switzerland so, it has been a great day for BMC Development Team. The team is feeling really confident for our next goals, and I hope the guys do well next weekend at Paris-Roubaix U23."
Quotes From the Finish Line
"I am really happy with my third place overall. For us, today went perfectly. Lotto Soudal U23 attacked us right from the beginning, but we were riding fast with six guys at the front. When Pavel Sivakov attacked on the downhill, which we had previously done a recon of, I still felt good behind him and was able to control the attacks. But, after all their work at the beginning, the other guys seemed tired and couldn't chase too hard. Overall it's been a great week for the team, and we leave here super happy with our performance."
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
“Today has been an incredible day for Pavel Sivakov and the whole team. The race started very fast with riders trying to force a move all the time. For a moment there was a breakaway with eleven riders, but we worked hard to chase it down as it was a big group. From that group, five riders were able to extend an advantage with reached about three minutes but we kept control."
"On the long climb, Lotto Soudal U23, who were sitting second on the GC, started to speed up and attacked 7km from the top. We arrived at the top with two riders in front followed by the group with Pavel and Steff Cras. We just continued to stay patient in this group before Pavel, who knew the route almost inside out, attacked going over the top of the penultimate climb with 50km to go. He was really pushing hard, and at the bottom of the descent, he had a good lead which started to rise on the last climb. The last 25km were in the valley, and we knew Pavel needed to push hard for the first 7km of that to really make the difference, and that's exactly what he did. It was just an incredible win for him. I am really impressed with how he has performed this week. Steff was also great and he held onto third on the GC. It’s been an incredible day on a hard parcours and I am really proud of the guys.”
Ronde de l’Isard
Stage 4: Lavelanet > Saint-Girons, 142km
Top 3: 1. Pavel Sivakov (BMC Development Team) 2. James Knox (Team Wiggins) 3. Tiago Antunes (Portuguese National Team)
BMC Development Team Top 3: 1. Pavel Sivakov 5. Steff Cras 8. Pascal Eenkhoorn
BMC Development Team Top 3 on GC: 1. Pavel Sivakov 3. Steff Cras 24. Marc Hirschi