Mancebo Wins Classique des Alpes
Francisco Mancebo (iBanesto.com) has won the Classique des Alpes.
Francisco Mancebo (iBanesto.com) has won the Classique des Alpes. Mancebo overtook and dropped Benoit Salmon (Phonak) with 18 km left to win the rugged, 174.5-km event in 4:54:49. Salmon finished second at 1:17, and David Millar (Cofidis) took third at 1:41.
From the start, the racing was aggressive. At eight km, seven riders--Vicente Garcia Acosta (iBanesto.com), Iker Flores (Euskaltel), Christophe Oriol (Ag2r), Salmon, Ludovic Martin (Jean Delatour), Loic Lamouller (BigMat), and Ivailo Gabrovski (MBK) rolled off of the front. The septet breasted the Col des Pres (37 km), the day's first climb with a 2:25 lead over the peloton.
On the descent, Martin, Salmon, Oriol, and Gabrovski dropped their companions and forged a 3:40 lead over the bunch by 69 km. On the Col du Granier, Gabrovski was dropped. On the Col du Grapillon, Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) and Millar attacked, and Peter Farazijn (Cofidis), Mancebo, and Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour) joined them. The five riders overtook and dropped Gabrovski and closed to within 2:00 of the leaders.
The peloton reacted and reeled in the chasers. Sandy Casar (La Francaise des Jeux.com) countered, and Mayo, Inigo Charreau (Ag2r), and Denis Menchov (iBanesto.com) joined him. By the time that the leaders had climbed and descended the Cote de Miribel (105 km), they led the chasers by 2:15 and the bunch by 3:50.
On the Col du Cucheron (138 km), Salmon attacked his companions. At the top of the climb, he led his Oriol by 1:00, Charreau by 1:10, and the peloton by 2:05. The bunch slowly gained on the escapees, and Mancebo attacked from the peloton near the top of the day's last climb, the Col du Granier. He caught and dropped Salmon and never looked back. Millar escaped the bunch during the run to the finish to claim third.
The Classique des Alpes is used by many riders as a barometer of Tour fitness. Obviously, Mancebo, Salmon, and Millar are getting there. Who else is getting there or will do so in the weeks ahead? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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