Sivakov Secures Second Day in Yellow After Stage 3 in France20. May 2017, Plateau de Beille (FRA) — Development Team
Once again, the stage win came down to the final climb on day three at Ronde de l’Isard with Pavel Sivakov locked in a head to head battle in the closing kilometers of the race to finish second on the line and successfully defend the leader’s yellow jersey.
It was a fast start to the stage with riders battling to be in the day’s breakaway however it wasn’t until after 40km, of the 141km course, that five riders began to extend an advantage over the rest of the field.
BMC Development Team quickly kept tight control of the proceedings at the front of the race, with the peloton never allowing the early leaders to gain more than two minutes.
As the race began the first of three category one climbs, the Port de Pailhères, which peaked out with 70km to go, the gap between the breakaway and the rest of the field was beginning to fall.
Going over the top of the climb, the front of the race had exploded with riders spread out across the road as Alexys Brunel (Bourgogne-France Comté) rode solo before being joined by Fernando Barcelo (Fundacion Euskadi-EDP) and Aurélien Doleatto (Chambéry Cyclisme Formation).
Approaching the base of the final climb, with 20km to go, the front of the race had reshuffled once again with two new riders joining Doleatto and BMC Development Team still setting a strong tempo behind.
After working hard for the team all day, Pascal Eenkhoorn swung off the front of the main bunch with 16km to go, leaving Sivakov, Steff Cras and Marc Hirschi in the chasing group.
With all the previous attacks caught, Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto-Soudal U23) made the decisive final move with Sivakov the only rider able to follow in his wheel.
The duo quickly went clear, and with a 35-second lead heading under the flamme rouge, they found themselves locked in a head to head final sprint for the stage win with Lambrecht eventually taking the honors.
Sivakov’s second place finish sees him head into tomorrow final stage 1’18” ahead of the Lotto-Soudal U23 rider on the General Classification.
Meanwhile, Steff Cras also showed his strength on the climb to Plateau de Beille, crossing the line third to maintain his podium position overall, 2’17” back.
Quotes From the Finish Line
"I did not think I was going to be as strong as I was today after yesterday. Luckily, I recovered well, and they whole team did an incredible job to defend the yellow jersey. I felt very strong at the beginning of the final climb, so I thought I would be able to keep the overall lead but it was tough. I am really delighted with my day. I couldn't have held onto the overall lead today if it wasn't for my teammates. I am so thankful for what they did for me. This jersey is also theirs as they gave everything today to protect it."
“I felt really good again today. We controlled the race right from the beginning, and Pavel Sivakov and I could stay at the front without too much stress or losing too much energy. Pascal Eenkhoorn, Marc Hirschi, Tanguy Turgis and Martin Schäppi all did a great job. At the bottom of the final climb, Lotto-Soudal U23 started to attack us, but we were able to go with every move. When Pavel and Lambrecht went away, I was still feeling good and controlled the attacks from behind before finishing third myself. So, all in all, another good day for the team."
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
"Today was a perfect day for us. There were five guys in the breakaway, and we kept the advantage to a minimum with the guys riding a really high tempo all day. The bunch was already reduced after the first climb, and we were controlling the gap with Pascal Eenkhoorn until the last climb. Marc Hirschi then set the early tempo forcing a split before the fireworks started and Pavel Sivakov was able to defend his overall lead with another strong final climb. The main goal today was to keep the jersey, and we achieved that. On paper, tomorrow is an easier day but you never know what can happen, but we are in a good position with Sivakov and Steff Cras. I am happy with how the guys raced today, and now we need to stay focused for tomorrow."
Ronde de l’Isard
Stage 3: Quillan > Plateau de Beille, 141km
Top 3: 1. Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto-Soudal U23) 2. Pavel Sivakov (BMC Development Team) 3. Staff Cras (BMC Development Team)
BMC Development Team Top 3: 2. Pavel Sivakov 3. Steff Cras 32. March Hirschi