Route d’Occitanie, first day: Nobody could argue with Andrea Vendrame

the essentials The first stage of the 45th “Route d’Occitanie-La Dépêche du Midi” between Cazouls-lès-Béziers – Lacaune-les-Bains was removed this Thursday, June 10th, by the Italian from AG2R-Citroën: Andrea Vendrame . After a difficult stage, the Haut-Languedoc has already “sorted” the best …

To be honest, we would have hesitated a little in his place. Coming home to the land of Prosciutto Veneto with a Lacaune ham on the luggage rack borders on the anti-patriotism on display! But the will to win has prevailed. Andrea Vendrame, let’s face it, it’s no longer fun reserving your spot in the outliers to make two, three or four …

At 26 he seems to have decided to shoot for victory, all couriers know it is the most effective doping. As in Bagno di Romagna last month at the Giro (he had deposed Hamilton and George Bennett), the former winner of Tro Bro Leon won the opening pompom of this 45th Route d’Occitanie-La Dépêche du Midi, at a speed of around 40 km / h Average after a day maybe not crazy but very well cared for. The battle to escape, the first run, the ascent of the Fontfroide with a teasing wind, from the very top: not everyone has digested this rich buffet from the organizers.

Two, three, all alone, everything suits him!

As we followed the final towards Lacaune-les-Bains, we noticed the Italian’s strong will. On the last lap he did not leave the center. With Merhawi Kudus, the Astana on duty, first, then alone, then already, then with his compatriot Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) and the Spaniard Marti Marquez (Kern Pharma), in the end alone! You can only succeed in such a recital if you are the strongest, and the AG2R-Citroën Transalpin (which arrived at Androni in France last season after three years) seemed like yesterday.

A handful of seconds behind him, Magnus Cort thanked his Education First partner Jacopo Mosca (Trek-Segafredo), who has been very committed since Cazouls, with a podium finish, who toasted to Luis-Leon Sanchez (Astana) in his beautiful Spanish championship jersey for the last step .
This Thursday was marked by the very Iberian breakaway group of Alvaro Cuadros (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Alexander Mollenaar (Burgos-BH), Juri Hollmann (Movistar Team), Garikoitz Bravo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Carlos Garcia (Equipo Kern Pharma) accompanied by Julien Duval (AG2R Citroën Team) and Yevgeniy Fedorov (Astana – Premier Tech), Cuadros takes the lead at the helm of Fontfroide in front of a large number of spectators, a passage that is synonymous with the best promotional jersey while waiting for the Tourmalet and society.

Very quickly, on the first slopes to Olargues, we had the feeling that Arnaud Démare would be waiting for the Gers (where he remains undefeated!) To win a fifth Occitan bouquet. The French champion, however, had his men at the helm alongside EF’s roses, but he didn’t hold out and ended up spending more than fifteen minutes in the company of those who didn’t like the program too much.

Starts published yesterday, probably not today …

This was the case of Lilian Calmejane, who couldn’t win his teammate, or another regional Alexandre Geniez (Total – Direct Energie), Flavien Maurelet (St. Michel-Auber 93) or the young Lotois de l French team, Clément Braz Afonso .

Simon Carr, who is now eagerly awaited by his fans, finishes less than thirty seconds behind the best with Stéphane Rossetto and writhes in this event where he has so often occupied the airwaves of the radio tour.

First step, first selection, first valuable indications. The results are perfect for Stéphane Goubert’s AG2Rs. Behind the hero of the day are Tony Gallopin, Nicolas Prodhomme and Clément Champoussin in the top group. Astana missed the win but smiles with Luis-Leon Sanchez, Oscar Rodriguez, Merhawi Kudus and Yuriy Natarov.
Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) did not get lost on the streets of the Tarn either, nor did Ben Swift, the only representative of an Ineos far from his usual face.

Change of scene and strategies today between Villefranche-de-Rouergue and Auch, where the Route d’Occitanie will find Nicolas Portal in mind.

Arnaud Démare was not in the sprint at the foot of the Sainte-Marie Cathedral, which was kidnapped by Steven Tronet six years ago.

While he admits that given the long stretches of the tour, he’s mainly there to tame the mountain, it would be surprising not to see his tricolor on the home stretch.

Then it’s time to think about the beautiful mountains of the Pyrenees. “Isard Futé” announces a very hot weekend near Tourmalet, Mourtis and Corbières.

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