Classic Sud-Ardèche: Golas 2nd, Three OPQS in the Top 10
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team was well represented in the top finishers at 194.5km Classic Sud-Ardèche on Saturday. After a grueling parcours that included 11 climbs, the race looked to come back together with 3km to go and the gap at 5 seconds for the breakaway.
There was a regroupment heading into the final kilometer. However, Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) was able to get enough of an advantage in the final meters to win with a gap of a few bike lengths. OPQS rider Michal Golas earned the next spot on the podium, and Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) was 3rd. OPQS rider Gianni Meersman — who was the top finisher in the 2013 edition in 6th place — finished 9th. Pieter Serry rounded out the top 10.
"We controlled the race then in the final we worked to close the gap on the breakaway," Golas said. "Gianni was the rider designed to do the race so we tried to put him in the best position for the final sprint. The last corner was at 130 meters to go. We were really well placed, but the first rider who entered in the left corner crashed and Gianni was forced to brake and lose his speed. I had also to brake, but with a bit more speed I was able to close the gap and finish in second place. It's a pity because we were really close to the victory, but I think that once again we showed that we take the initiative and we always race to try to win. Tomorrow looks like it is easier, but the short final climb is close to the finish and possibly can encourage the attacks of a few riders. We will see."