Mont Ventoux remains an adventure apart in the world of professional cycling. Even when the Tour de France does not pass. For its second edition, the “Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge” offered this Thursday a nice show with a final explanation worthy, by the pedigree of its participants, of a stage of the Grande Boucle. The organizers dreamed of a renowned winner to establish their event in the French calendar. They were not answered.
But the one who raised his arms is called Alexandr Vlasov. The Russian from Astana is unknown to the general public but was the frontrunner of the peloton after being the last to stand up to Egan Bernal on the Route d'Occitanie. Vlasov edged the Australian Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) by 18 seconds and the French Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) at 59 seconds and Pierre Latour at 1'29 ". Six kilometers from the finish, the two French found themselves together alone in the lead but between a Latour too blunt by his attack three terminals earlier and a voluntary Martin but short of form for his first race more than four months after Paris-Nice, the two tricolors were too fair.
"Encouraging for the future"
"I gave what I could but Vlasov and Porte were stronger than me," admits Guillaume Martin. Vlasov was the big favorite today when we see that he was the only one to follow Bernal on the Route d'Occitanie. At one point, I believed it when I left. But this remains encouraging for the future. "" I cycle for the races and I was happy to have given a bib and rediscovered the joy of the peloton, he continues. The Ventoux is a mythical pass and there was a field with several contenders for a podium on the Tour de France. Finding myself third is a good thing. "
Pierre Latour, he allows himself the second degree: “It feels good not to be too bad in the mountains and to see that I am not that big ( smiles ). There were a lot of people and going up the Ventoux twice was tough. My sports director told me: If you empty your tank well, you will have two days of rest . I believe I will have them! "
Like the rest of the peloton and the followers, Latour and Martin wore a mask at the finish line. What gives an even stranger aspect whereas the lunar decoration and without vegetation of Ventoux is already a voyage out of normality. “It's not usual and it's weird,” assures Guillaume Martin. But if we all play the game, there will be no reason to interrupt the season again. "