Late Attack Steals the Show on Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc Stage 216. June 2017, Cluses (FRA) — Development Team
Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc stage 2 was the longest of the race and saw Steff Cras finish with the General Classification contenders, 1’17” behind the day’s solo winner Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia).
A fast pace was set from KM 0 with an opening 80km downhill section out of the valley seeing the peloton cover 50km in the first hour of racing with all the early attacked quickly pulled back.
On the early slopes of the day’s first climb, the Col de Tamié, a group of eight riders was able to go clear and the front of the race.
The breakaway was able to build up an advantage of over five minutes, but with the final climbing coming just 20km before the finish, a motivated chase soon began behind.
With the race back together, Steff Cras was well protected in the main bunch by Mario Spengler, Reto Müller, Marc Hirsch before Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia) made the final attack on the climb to Brizon.
Riders quickly began to drop back on the the slopes of the tough climb, which had an average gradient of 9.2%, until Hirschi and Cras were left in the group of General Classification riders chasing Bernal Gomez.
In the end, Bernal Gomez was able to hold onto his advantage on the descent towards the line and took the win ahead of Lafay Victor (Bourg-en-Bresse Ain Cyclisme) and Patrick Schelling (Team Vorarlberg).
After crashing on stage 1, Cras continued to push hard with the yellow jersey group behind which eventually crossed the line 1’17” back.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“The team kept me at the front of the whole stage today. They did an amazing job. I was disappointed yesterday after I crashed and lost time on the uphill finish. Today was another hard final with a tough climb which peaked 10km from the finish. I was pushing a lot of power to stay with the group of favorite and I was happy that I could stay with them as I didn’t have a great night following the crash. I was glad to see my form back today, and I am confident going into the next two days of racing. It can only get better for me.”
Sports Director, Jens Blatter:
"I'm happy how the guys were riding today. It tough day with temperatures of more than 30 degrees again and a lot of climbing. Reto Müller, Mario Spengler, and Marc Hirschi did a great job to protect Steff Cras all day, and it was great to see this team spirit. Mario and Reto were both climbing well today, and they were able to make it over the top of the first long climb with the GC riders and were fighting until the last climb, but at that point, they had done their job and could drop back. We then had Marc Hirschi with Steff on this last climb, and again he looked super strong and did a great job to protect Cras with the group of GC riders. We just missed out on the top ten today, but I don’t think we can be disappointed. After his crash, it was great to see Steff riding well today, and it was a step forward comparison to yesterday. The race is not over yet, and there are two hard climbing stages and tough mountain ITT to come. Anything is possible. We will give it our best shot, and we are still positive and motivated to do well here."
Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc
Stage 2: Val Cenis > Cluses, 188km
Top 3: 1. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia) 2. Victor Lafay (Bourg-en-Bresse Ain Cyclisme) 3. Patrick Schelling (Team Vorarlberg)
BMC Development Team Top 3: 11. Steff Cras 18. Marc Hirschi 57. Mario Spengler