Drôme Classic winner just a couple of seconds outside the top 10 overall ahead of the queen stage.
Stage 2 of the Tour de l’Ain, from Lagnieu to Saint-Vulbas, started with Alvaro Hodeg in yellow, but the winner of the opening day knew he would get to enjoy it only for a couple of hours, as the day contained four hard classified climbs: Côte de Corlier, Col du Ballon, Col d’Ordonnaz and Col de Portes.
It didn’t take long for three riders to go clear, prompting Deceuninck – Quick-Step to take over the reins at the head of the peloton. On the second ascent, attacks began coming thick and fast from the group, which had a devastating effect on the escapees’ gap, cut to a mere minute. Soon, the trio were reabsorbed, but more moves went up the road.
The most significant of these happened on the Col de Portes, five riders getting a gap which they kept until the finish, where Georg Zimmerman (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) took the win, some 20 seconds clear of a group that included Andrea Bagioli. The Italian had been among those to chase hard behind the leaders, but despite his best efforts, the quintet made it at the end of an intense day of racing.
“I felt good today. Ok, I’m still not at my best, which is only normal considering the long spell without any races, but I am progressing and this makes me happy. Today I was there with the second group and we pulled hard to make it across, and despite not happening, it was a solid outing, which gives me confidence for the final stage of the race”, Andrea explained at the finish.
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