Tour of the Med Stages one and two were a whirlwind of snow, wind, attacks from the gun, echelons and pain – but the inner chainrings enjoyed the rest!
Were days three, four and five any easier?
VeloVeritas‘ man in the peloton, Endura Racing’s Evan Oliphant was there ’til the bitter end.
An easy one first, how were the hotels?
“Good, we stayed mostly at Stephen Roche’s hotel and it was first class.
“Brian Smith knows Stephen very well and Stephen is also involved with the race organisation.
“We stayed in a couple of other places too and no complaints. In my DFL days, the hotels in France were always shitty!”
“Hutarovich (F des J & Belorus) who won stage one, took that one, too.
“I was in the front group until the last climb, it was brutal with the cross wind; I nearly made it back, over the top, but the commissaire was making the cars drop back so you couldn’t work up through the convoy.”
“I paid for my efforts on the climb the previous day, a bit – it was fast out of the blocks, just like every day but the majority of the field was till there when the race was stopped; we’d just bombed up this climb, too!
“The Chief of Police for the area apparently wanted ‘new paperwork’ to cover racing in bad weather, we were all standing about – it was around minus five.
“Eventually he took the police motor bikes away – that was an end of it.
“They gave the stage placings to three guys who had been up the road, there was a lot of fuss about that, but I think they had to have some one to stand on the podium at the end.”
“Masciarelli (Acqua and Sapone & Italy) won the stage, Valverde (Caisse & Spain) took the GC – it went straight out of the blocks, there was a big split on the first climb, I nearly made it but there were guys just sitting up everywhere.
“I was in a group and we rode the next climb steady, hoping to get back on the descent – but it was lethal, wet, slippy and we had to take care.
“After that I was in the second group all day, it was a good group to be in, everyone did their spell – there were a huge number of guys climbed off or failed to beat the time cut.
“Alexander Blain called it a day; he was really disappointed – on stage two he was in the right place at the death but was sent off course, then on stage four he was highly motivated because the parcours went through his home town.
“The pavement artists had been out and his name was all over the road – but of course, the stage was abandoned.
“I felt good on Mont Faron, I just cruised up; when we were at the bottom, I looked up and could see the leaders at the top – that’s 10 K!”
And how’s the weather today, now that the race is over?
“Blue skies, a little chilly but not a cloud in the sky!
“Having said that, the weather had been changing so quickly, one minute you’re riding through Sant Tropez in the sun shine, then there’s a blizzard, just up the road.”
How’s the recovery?
“I feel better now than I did at the start of the race, I felt good yesterday.
“The next few days are all about recovery, I’ll have a pedal down to the cafe later, but that’s about all, today.”
“Mine is fine; Gary Hand was suffering a bit from the cold; James Moss was worse than I thought from his crash, he came down in the convoy at 70 kph and has lost a lot of skin – he’s pulled out of Haut Var; Ross Creber is very fit but he’s new to this and doesn’t have that last bit of top end you need for a big ring climb or when you’re in the cross winds.”
“I think that’s what we all have to train for, now.
“Alex Blain was saying that the guys who were doing the damage had all raced this year, prior to the Med.”
Blain seems to be a good rider.
“He kicked back on the last day but yes, he’s good – his positional sense is excellent and he moves up through the bunch well; that’s been very hard to do here.”
“Haut Var, next weekend – Jack Bauer arrives for that, along with the rest of the team, from the UK.
“It’s two days and meant to be not quite as hard as the Med; although it’s over a lot of the same countryside.
“Alex says that Saturday is rolling, not too tough but the Sunday stage is hilly.”
What will you do between now and then?
“We’ll have to split into two groups; those who rode the Med will have to have a couple of days recovery, but the guys who have just arrived will want to do some work.
“We’ll probably go out with them Wednesday and Thursday, then have Friday easy.”
How were you accepted by the other teams at the Med?
“Surprisingly well, there was no nonsense about riders not working with us in groups and we were getting help from the other team cars – no complaints.”
Would you say it was a successful start?
“No one in this race had an easy time, it was full on all the time – Stephen Roche said he’s never seen a French race like it.”
Will we hear from you after Haut Var?
It was never going to be easy for Endura, but that’s the first one in; Alex Blain has good legs, Jack Bauer’s a beast and Evan’s feeling good – like the song says; ‘things can only get better.’ With thanks to Evan and wishing them all better weather – and legs – for Haut Var.
Tour of the Med Results
1 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FranÃ§aise Des Jeux 2:33:19
2 Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat – Auber 93
3 Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Caisse d’Epargne
4 William Bonnet (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
5 Leonardo-Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
6 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
7 Alessandro Donati (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
8 Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d’Epargne
9 Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin – Transitions
10 Jérémie Galland (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
11 Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
12 Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil – Shimano
13 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank
14 Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
15 Steven Tronet (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
16 Cédric Pineau (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
17 Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
18 Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura Racing
19 Johan Mombaerts (Fra) Big Mat – Auber 93
20 Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Big Mat – Auber 93
21 Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank
22 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
23 Julien El Fares (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
24 Alexander Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale
25 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
26 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
27 Jonathan Thire (Fra) Big Mat – Auber 93
28 Roberto Cesaro (Ita) Miche
29 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana
30 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
31 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FranÃ§aise Des Jeux
32 Steve Chainel (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
33 Renaud Dion (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
34 Mickael Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
35 Christophe Kern (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
36 Juan-Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
37 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana
38 Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Astana
39 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Skil – Shimano 0:00:07
40 Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
41 Gael Malacarne (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
42 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
43 Mickael Larpe (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
44 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
45 Thomas Peterson (USA) Garmin – Transitions
46 Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
47 Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
48 Mathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse d’Epargne
49 Jean-Marc Marino (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
50 Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
51 Mikael Cherel (Fra) FranÃ§aise Des Jeux
52 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana
53 Jose Garcia Acosta (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
54 Fortunato Baliani (Ita) Miche
55 Yohann Gene (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
56 Francesco Failli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
57 Sébastien Joly (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
58 Massimo Codol (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
59 Martin Mortensen (Den) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
60 Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank
61 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
62 Edwin Carvajal Jaramillo (Col) Miche
63 Clément Lhotellerie (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
64 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin – Transitions
65 Lilian Jegou (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
66 Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil – Shimano
67 Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil – Shimano
68 Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin – Transitions
69 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil – Shimano
70 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
71 Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Rabobank
72 Floris Goesinnen (Ned) Skil – Shimano
73 Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank
74 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank
75 Francisco Perez Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
76 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Acqua & Sapone
77 Eduardo Gonzalo (Spa) Bretagne – Schuller
78 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
79 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Astana
80 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
81 Julien Mazet (Fra) Big Mat – Auber 93
82 Rémy Di Gregoria (Fra) FranÃ§aise Des Jeux
83 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
84 Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank
85 Francesco Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
86 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Miche
87 Niels Brouzes (Fra) Big Mat – Auber 93
88 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana
89 Amael Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
90 Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
91 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin – Transitions
92 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale
93 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) FranÃ§aise Des Jeux
94 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) FranÃ§aise Des Jeux
95 Brice Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
96 Cyril Bessy (Fra) Saur – Sojasun 0:01:00
97 Dimitri Champion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:43
98 Timothy Duggan (USA) Garmin – Transitions
99 Anthony Charteau (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 0:02:30
100 Anthony Roux (Fra) FranÃ§aise Des Jeux 0:03:22
101 Pasquale Muto (Ita) Miche
102 Trent Lowe (Aus) Garmin – Transitions 0:07:02
103 Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) FranÃ§aise Des Jeux 0:10:13
104 Evan Oliphant (GBr) Endura Racing 0:14:30
105 Ross Creber (GBr) Endura Racing 0:17:35
106 Laurent Pichon (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
107 Nadir Haddou (Fra) Big Mat – Auber 93
108 Paolo Ciavatta (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
109 Dario Andriotto (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
110 Robert Partridge (GBr) Endura Racing
111 Noan Lelarge (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
112 Christian Meier (Can) Garmin – Transitions
113 Gary Hand (GBr) Endura Racing
114 Luigi Gitto (Ita) Miche
115 Stephane Rossetto (Fra) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
116 Han Feng (Chn) Skil – Shimano
117 Damien Monier (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
118 Ian Wilkinson (GBr) Endura Racing
119 Allan Davis (Aus) Astana
120 Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne – Schuller
121 Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank
122 Simone Campagnaro (Ita) Miche
123 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana
124 Dominique Cornu (Bel) Skil – Shimano
125 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur – Sojasun 0:17:41
126 Damien Gaudin (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
DNF James Moss (GBr) Endura Racing
Mountains 1 – Cat. 2 Col Pas de la Couelle