Davide Ballerini trumps Arnaud Demare at first stage of Tour de la Provence
Feb 11 2021 11:30 pm CET

Davide Ballerini trumps Arnaud Demare at first stage of Tour de la Provence
Davide Ballerini trumps Arnaud Demare at first stage of Tour de la Provence
Deceuninck-Quick-Step logo

Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) has taken the victory of the first stage at the Tour de la Provence on a day Julian Alaphilippe shone in the escape group.

The first stage of the French race was 182.3 kilometres long with a start in Aubagne and a finish in Six-Fours-les-Plagues over a route that included one climb of the first category and three of the third category. Lilian Calmejane and Delio Fernández Cruz took an early lead from the peloton and were later joined by Remi Cavagna.

The climb of the Montée du Brulat caused the peloton to regroup and soon after Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) attacked and minutes later he was caught by Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step). Meanwhile, in the back, some sprinters were left behind due to the toughness of the climb but later on rejoined the first group of the pack.

Although the three escapees entered the last ten kilometres of the stage with a 25-second advantage, the peloton was very determined to catch them to force a sprint finale. With a bit more than two kilometres to go and as the pack got closer, the World Champion launched a new attack and was only followed by Moscon.

Just after the two-kilometre mark, the adventure of the duo was over, and the stage was sentenced to a final sprint. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) was the first rider to launch his sprint and although it was very strong, Deceunick-Quick-Step's Davide Ballerini overtook him at the last moment, taking the victory of the stage and the lead of the General Classification.




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