Bookwalter and Caruso Add to BMC Racing Team's Top Ten Finishes in France19. February 2017, Draguignan (FRA) — Road Team
A grueling Tour Cycliste International du Haut Var-Matin Stage 2 saw the peloton tackle five categorized climbs over the 206.8km parcours with Brent Bookwalter and Damiano Caruso securing BMC Racing Team a further two top ten finishes in France.
It was a nervous start to today's stage with multiple crashes including one involving Miles Scotson. Luckily he escaped uninjured and was able to rejoin the peloton, which was chasing an early five-rider breakaway.
In a similar manner to Stage 1, the advantage of the leading group was kept under the watchful eye of the peloton and never extended beyond 4 minutes 15 seconds.
By the time the race reached the summit of Col de la Grange for the final time, the peloton had brought the lead of the breakaway to within two minutes but it would take until 27km to go before the race would be brought back together.
With the breakaway caught, the pace rose quickly, and soon the peloton had fractured with BMC Racing Team's Caruso and Bookwalter sitting in the front group of 10 riders.
The battle for the stage win eventually came down to a final sprint from this leading group with Julien Simon (Team Cofidis) taking the win and Bookwalter and Caruso crossing the line in eighth and ninth place respectively.
Consistent performances from BMC Racing Team across both stages, saw three riders make the top ten in the General Classification. Caruso was BMC Racing Team's top placed rider, finishing in fourth place, behind Arthur Vichot (Equipe FDJ) while Bookwalter was seventh and Silvan Dillier rounded out the top ten.
Tom Bohli started the day in the white jersey, and he was able to hold on to this and take the overall victory in the Best Young Rider Classification after Stage 2
Quotes from the Finish Line
"We were in a pretty good situation at the end of the stage, and we wanted to keep pushing hard in the select group of riders to try and go for the stage win. We gave it our best effort, and although we came up a little short on the sprint, I don't think we can be too disappointed, and it was chaotic at the end especially on the downhill."
"The most important takeaway for me this weekend is that I have felt good at my first race of the season, I had the opportunity to race with Fran Ventoso and Miles Scotson for the first time, which was a pleasure and put in some solid ground work for the races to come. I trained pretty hard over the winter, and although you want to come to your first race in the best condition possible, no training at home can prepare you for the experience of riding in the peloton once again."
"Today was a hard and long stage, but I was feeling good all day, especially on the last, steep climb. The final kilometer was very fast and chaotic, and I was a bit unlucky there. I had hoped to have got a better result, but I was just not able to find the best line to go for the sprint against the leading group of riders. I want to thank my teammates for keeping me in a good position over the course of the whole day, and I am now looking forward to next week's race."
Sports Director, Yvon Ledanois:
"We came into today's stage wanting the win, and although we were a bit disappointed we couldn't do that, everyone did a really good job today. In the end, we had Damiano Caruso and Brent Bookwalter up at the front, and they both showed strong form as they tried to take the victory. It was a chaotic sprint though so it was good that they didn't take too many risks this early into the season."
"For me, this race was an important indicator of everyone's early-season form, and there are lots of positives to take away from it. Now, we can look ahead to next week's race in France and continue to look out for opportunities and race for stage wins."
Tour Cycliste International du Haut Var-Matin
Stage 2: Draguignan > Draguignan, 206.8km
Top 3: 1. Julien Simon (Team Cofidis) 2. Julien El Farès (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) 3. Arthur Vichot (Equipe FDJ)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 8. Brent Bookwalter 9. Damiano Caruso 12. Silvan Dillier
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 4. Damiano Caruso 7. Brent Bookwalter 10. Silvan Dillier