Dennis Wins the 2ème Tour Cycliste International La Provence23. February 2017, Marseille (FRA) — Road Team
Rohan Dennis crossed the line second in Marseille today to secure overall victory, and BMC Racing Team's tenth win of the season, at his first stage-race in Europe of 2017.
With four riders, including Dennis, on the same time at the top of the General Classification, and a large group of riders only four seconds back, it would be anything but an easy ride to the final podium in France.
Tom Bohli put in a huge effort at the front of the peloton to defend BMC Racing Team's overall lead and control the gap of an early 3-rider breakaway before bringing the race back together heading into the final 20km of the race.
Fireworks quickly followed, and with just seconds separating himself from the overall lead, Mattia Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) launched a late challenge on the final climb into Marseille.
BMC Racing Team reacted quickly with Brent Bookwalter going on the offense however with only two kilometers remaining, Cattaneo had extended a lead of 25 seconds over the chasers.
While that would prove to be enough to take the stage victory, a determined Dennis dug deep to cross the line just two seconds behind the Italian and secure victory on the General Classification by the same margin.
Winner's Interview with Rohan Dennis
Congratulations Rohan! How are you feeling after today's overall victory?
"I am really happy with the form I have shown here and of course, to take the win. Normally I am not in the best condition at the early races in Europe, so this race has definitely been a big confidence boost for what's to come over the rest of the season."
What were your thoughts when Cattaneo made his late attack?
"I was a little bit nervous when Cattaneo attack. I wasn't totally sure we could bring him back, and when he was still 14 seconds ahead with 1.5km to go, I knew it wasn't going to be easy. When I made my move, it was a last ditch effort really, so I was pleased it worked out. It's been a close race every day and, with only three stages, there isn't any time to waste. It all comes down to who makes the right move at the right time."
Finally, how big a part did the team play today?
"It was our race to lose coming into today's stage, but we proved that we had the strongest team in the end. We did everything ourselves today to control the race, and we were able to pull off the overall victory. It has been a full team effort right from the start of this race and I wouldn't be in this position if it had just been me."
Sports Director, Yvon Ledanois:
"This is a great victory for the whole team. Everyone did an excellent job today, and with just three riders in the breakaway, we were able to control their lead comfortably. Tom Bohli did a standout performance for me today, pulling at the front of the peloton for over 100km. Then once the breakaway was caught, we pulled hard at the front on the final climb and in the end, Dennis showed that he was motivated to take the win here. For me, this is an important win for his confidence and morale before the UCI World Tour races which lie ahead."
2ème Tour Cycliste International La Provence
Stage 3: Aix en Provence > Marseille, 171.4km
Top 3: 1. Mattia Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) 2. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) 3. Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Rohan Dennis 6. Damiano Caruso 23. Brent Bookwalter BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 1. Rohan Dennis 9. Damiano Caruso 17. Brent Bookwalter