Deceuninck – Quick-Step places three riders in the top 10 of the Tour de la Provence stage 1.
The fourth edition of the French race kicked off Thursday afternoon with an 8.9km-long individual time trial held in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, a small town in the Camargue region, where according to an old legend, Mary Jacobe, Mary Salome, Mary Magdalene and Joseph of Arimathea – the bearer of the Holy Grail – arrived after their flight from Palestine.
First Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to go below the 10:30 mark was World TTT Champion Kasper Asgreen, who slotted into second, behind provisional leader Sebastian Langeveld (EF Education First). Former Belgian ITT Champion Yves Lampaert – who got his season underway at the Tour de la Provence – also put in a solid time, slotting into the top 10 at the end of the short but intense solo effort.
But it was Rémi Cavagna who concluded the opening stage as Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s highest finisher, after stopping the clock in 10:15, just a few seconds behind the Dutchman and Filippo Ganna (Team Sky), who took the win. The 23-year-old Frenchman, who averaged 52.098km/h, was third by the time the dust had settled and notched up his first career podium in time trial.
“We always do a good ITT or TTT, and the same happened today. We can be satisfied with having three riders up there in the general classification, as this means we’ll have more cards to play in the coming stages”, said sports director Brian Holm after the stage that took Deceuninck – Quick-Step to the top of the team ranking. “Tomorrow it will be up and down on small and technical roads, which should make it difficult for the sprinters. We could have several scenarios, so it will be interesting to see how things will pan out.”
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