Tuesday 23 February 2016 - 17:34

Vakoc, runner-up in stage 1 of La Provence

Vakoc, runner-up in stage 1 of La Provence

Fresh off the Tour du Haut Var, the 23-year-old Czech rider showed his good form on the tough finish of Cassis.

After a strong 5th on Sunday, in the general classification of Haut Var, where he also claimed the young riders jersey, Petr Vakoč was again at the front in France, this time at the maiden edition of Tour La Provence. Etixx – Quick-Step was among the teams with the most riders on the tricky finishing circuit, even though it missed Carlos Verona, who crashed and couldn't rejoin the peloton. Thomas Voeckler took the win, but our team placed no less than three riders inside the top 15, which leaves us with many cards to play for the next stages of the three-day event.

On the tough climb leading to the line (15% maximum gradient), having Voeckler in foresight, Vakoč dug deep and managed to distance everyone else, while reducing the advantage of the Direct Energie rider, which means that he now trails him for only seven seconds. His teammate Pieter Serry came 4th, while Maxime Bouet completed the very good day of the team by arriving in 12th position. Their results combined were synonym to Etixx – Quick-Step taking the lead in the teams standings following the first stage of the race.

"A break of six went clear, and Voeckler proved to be the strongest on the final circuit. Unfortunately, Carlos crashed, but even so we did all that we could to bring Petr at the front and he took a solid second. We are happy with this result, and we now look forward to see what we can do over the following couple of days, in terms of stage wins and general classification", said sport director Brian Holm.

Côte des 4 Thermes, Côte de Rognes, Côte de Seze, Revers de Seze, Côte du Calvaire and Montee Val de Aurons are the six climbs the peloton will face on Wednesday, between Miramas and Istres (180 kilometers). Considering the last ascent comes far from the finish and that the riders will go on an almost flat circuit which they will do four times, the stage will suit very much the sprinters.


Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele

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