Dennis Sprints to Second and Takes the Leader's Jersey on Stage 2 in Provence22. February 2017, La Ciotat (FRA) — Road Team
A late attack on the downhill finish into La Ciotat on Stage 2 of the 2ème Tour Cycliste International La Provence saw Rohan Dennis race to second place and into the leader's jersey with one stage remaining in France.
Attacks started as soon as the flag dropped and after just 15km, a four-rider breakaway had distanced themselves from the peloton. The group's advantage continued to grow over the first half of the stage, reaching a maximum of six minutes.
Heading into the final 75km of the day, the breakaway had been joined by two chasers, but even with this added power, the peloton was closing the gap kilometer by kilometer.
With the remaining breakaway riders in sight, attacks started to fly off the front of the main bunch and eventually five riders, including Dennis, went clear with 10km to go.
The group was able to extend an advantage of 20 seconds over the peloton, and this would prove to be enough to disrupt the previously predicted bunch sprint on the fast, downhill run into the finish.
Eventually, all that was left was a final battle for the line between the late breakaway riders, with Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) taking the stage win just ahead of Dennis, who now heads into tomorrow's third and final stage as the leader of the General Classification.
Interview with Race Leader, Rohan Dennis
Great result today, Rohan! Talk us through the final attack.
"The initial attack was from Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie), and Joey Rosskopf was doing a great job keeping him in check up the climb before Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) attacked. He was going pretty hard, so it came to a point where I thought it was now or never so I went with the next move to form the breakaway."
Were you aware of the gap between the breakaway and the peloton?
"We were working well together, and we knew that we were holding onto a slight gap. At 3km to go, I turned around and could see the peloton, so I knew they were coming up fast. We lost some time on the last section, but that is normal with a breakaway that close to the finish."
This is your first race in Europe this season, how are you feeling with your form here?
"I pretty happy with how I am riding. The last couple of years I have probably been riding average at my first races in Europe so to come here and to be in good shape is a big confidence boost for me."
And looking ahead to tomorrow's stage?
"I don't see why we can't win the overall with either myself or one of the other guys on the team. The team is super strong, and we have shown that today and yesterday. We are all working hard, and I think it is our race to lose at this point."
Sports Director, Yvon Ledanois:
"I am happy with today's results and how everyone performed. We didn't have to pull too much early on, but I wanted the guys to take responsibility and look out for any opportunities heading into the final section. Tom Bohli did an excellent job pulling at the front, and then we tried two or three times before Rohan followed the final, winning move."
"The most important thing for Rohan on today's stage was that he looked strong. Taking the leader's jersey is a bonus this early in the season. The race is not finished, but we have a strong team and we will certainly try our hardest to defend this jersey tomorrow."
2ème Tour Cycliste International La Provence
Stage 2: Miramas > La Ciotat, 169.6km
Top 3: 1. Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) 2. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) 3. Nicolas Edet (Cofidis)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Rohan Dennis 18. Brent Bookwalter 35. Danilo Wyss