Sivakov and Cras Maintain GC Positions After Giro Valle d’Aosta Stage 214. July 2017, Les Combes di Introd (ITA) — Development Team
Giro Valle d’Aosta stage 2 was a day for the breakaway with Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto - Soudal U23) taking a solo victory and Pavel Sivakov and Steff Cras maintaining their positions on the General Classification.
An explosive start to the stage saw thirty riders split off the front of the peloton in the opening ten kilometers of racing with all five BMC Development Team riders making the selection.
As the group headed onto the first climb of the day, Col d’Introd, five riders were able to jump clear and formed the day’s breakaway.
Sivakov and Cras remained well positioned in the bunch with their teammates around them as the leaders’ advantage extended to over three minutes on the short but sharp climb to Charvensod, which had an average gradient of 14.3%.
An attack from Andrea Montagnoli (Team Hooplà Petroli Firenze) at the head of the race saw the now six-rider group extend their advantage to over 4’20” with around 30km, of the 138.4km course, to go.
The gap slowly started to fall on the ascent of the climb, which featured a tricky 5km gravel section. But the five remaining breakaway riders were able to hold onto a lead of over three minutes before Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto - Soudal U23) launched the winning attack with around 15km to go to take a solo stage win.
Behind, Pavel Sivakov pushed hard at the front of the bunch on the gravel section and saw himself riding away from the rest of the field. Giovanni Carboni (Team Colpack), who sits just one second ahead of Sivakov overall, reacted quickly with the duo heading onto the slopes of the final climb together.
Despite trying their luck against one another, Sivakov and the yellow jersey crossed the line fifth and sixth respectively to maintain the status quo on the General Classification heading into stage 3.
Once again, Cras was also showing off his climbing legs as he made his way up to the finish, eventually crossing the line tenth and holding onto sixth place overall.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I felt good today. I had a flat at one point, but we didn’t stress. Patrick Müller gave me his wheel, and the other guys helped bring me back. I attacked just before the end of the gravel, and then Giovanni Carboni (Team Colpack) was able to come across to me. We went pretty fast on the short descent before the final climb, so we had a bit of an advantage going into the climb. I kept my own pace, and I didn’t attack Carboni as today’s plan was not to lose time. I think I can progress further over the next two stages, so we will see what happens.”
“We were doing a good job as a team right from the beginning of today’s stage. We were always at the front as it was a tricky start with corners and bumps in the road but we were able to manage our effort, and we didn’t lose too much energy. On the penultimate climb, Team Colpack were setting the pace and riders were dropping off the back quickly. At the end of the climb, Pavel Sivakov attacked, and only the race leader could follow. Nobody reacted behind so I could stick in the group and save energy before following the other moves. I felt good. I had a really good day. I am happy with how I was racing and also for Pavel. I think the next couple of stages will be good for us.”
Giro Valle d’Aosta
Stage 2: Villeneuve > Les Combes di Introd, 138.4km
Top 3: 1. Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto - Soudal U23) 2. Massimo Rosa (Team Hooplà Petroli Firenze) 3. Alessandro Monaco (Team Hooplà Petroli Firenze)
BMC Development Team Top 3: 5. Pavel Sivakov 10. Steff Cras 58. Marc Hirschi