Richard Carapaz has won the Mercan'Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes 2023. The Ecuadorian cyclist of EF Education-EasyPost excelled in the race in the South of France. Lennert Van Eetvelt, representing Lotto-Dstny, impressively finished third.
While many cycling fans are currently feeling a bit down after the Giro d'Italia, the Mercan'Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes is here to fill the gap between the Giro and the Tour. Seven WorldTour teams shared the same sentiment, which resulted in French teams being joined by EF Education-EasyPost, Astana and Intermarché-Circus-Wanty at the start line.
Dutch champion Eenkhoorn in breakaway
With Alex Molenaar (Electro Hiper) and Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto-Dstny), two Dutch riders started the race, and the latter decided to join the early breakaway of the day. He was accompanied by Mathis Le Berre (Arkéa Samsic), Fabien Grellier (TotalEnergies), Jordi López (Equipo Kern Pharma), Gleb Brussenskiy (Astana), Alejandro Ropero, Xavier Canellas (Electro Hiper) and Rasmus Pedersen (Nantes Atlantique).
Groupama-FDJ, AG2R Citroën, Israel-Premier Tech and Cofidis controlled the gap of the eight escapees, who never gained more than six minutes. On La Colmaine, the first climb of the day, the pace in the main group was increased even further. The leaders in front also noticed this, and that's when López decided to accelerate. This attack proved to be too strong for Eenkhoorn and his companions.
López also succumbed later on the Col de la Couillole, where EF Education-EasyPost started setting a strong pace. Additionally, a heavy downpour added to the challenge in the Alps: the riders went from enjoying bright sunshine to a sudden downpour of rain. This didn't deter Lilian Calmejane (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), as he launched an attack in the last descending stretches, leading up to the final climb.
However, as soon as the road started to climb towards Valberg, Calmejane's advantage disappeared. Mark Padun impressively took the lead for EF, which cost riders like Jakob Fuglsang and Victor Lafay their chances. It was the prelude to what everyone expected: a rocket-like attack from Carapaz, who quickly opened up a gap. Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) seemed to be closing in on him, but ultimately cracked. A little later, Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën) attempted to bridge the distance, resulting in an intense duel. In the penultimate kilometer, Carapaz dug deep, dealing the final blow to Gall and claiming victory.
For Carapaz, this victory marks his first win on European soil this year. He previously finished 51st in the Tour of Catalonia, while he couldn't complete the Tour of the Basque Country.
Results Mercan'Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes 2023
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