Today the fifth edition of the Tour de la Provence kicked off with a 149,5km race from Châteaurenard to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, which favored the fast men in the bunch. Astana Pro Team arrived at this race with last year’s winner, Gorka Izagirre. Together with his teammates, the Kazakh team is looking to perform well here in the upcoming days.
After some kilometers of racing, a quartet was three minutes ahead of the main bunch, which included all Astana riders. The break was gone for most of the stage and on the final lap, 23km ahead of the finish line, the escapees still had more than one minute advantage over the peloton. With the gap dropping steadily, it was all back together with only 3km remaining and the sprinters showed their talents.
In a messy bunch sprint, the classic sprinters fought for the victory, while all Astana riders crossed the line in the pack, without losing any time for the overall ranking.
-It was the first race for many of our riders here. Today, we had not that much wind, which would be normal for this region and luckily no crashes. Today’s stage was mostly flat, therefore it was not really a stage for our guys, but tomorrow will be another day. The route will have more climbs and will be a chance for us to test the legs. The team is motivated and for sure we will give our best in the upcoming days, - said Dmitriy Fofonov.
Tomorrow the race will feature the longest stage in this year’s edition. Stage two will take the peloton from Aubagne up to La Ciotat over 174,9 demanding kilometers with four climbs.
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