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McNulty continues fast start to 2022 with Faun-Ardèche Classic victory

CARTAGENA SPAIN FEBRUARY 12 Brandon Mcnulty of United States and UAE Team Emirates competes in the breakaway during the 42nd Vuelta Ciclista A La Region De Murcia Costa Calida 2022 a 1832km one day race from Fortuna to Puerto de Cartagena VueltaRegionMurcia22 on February 12 2022 in Cartagena Spain Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) took a fine solo victory in the Ardèche Classic, attacking 23 kilometres from the finish before riding away from his rivals.

The 23-year-old American was part of a group that went clear on the penultimate time up the Côte de Val d'Enfer, and he then disanced his breakaway companions to take victory.

It was the American’s second victory of the season after also winning the Trofeo Calvia last month, and he signalled his continuing good form by placing second overall at the Volta ao Algarve.

World champion Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) had started the attacking, but as a tactical battle commenced, the winning breakaway slipped away and finished at the back of a reduced peloton.

Sepp Kuss had launched the winning move, but McNulty slipped clear finishing 45 seconds clear and the Jumbo-Visma rider was beaten into second in a sprint with Mauri Vansevenant (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl).

The peloton were left battling for seventh place with Alaphilippe and Roglič on the back.

How it unfolded

Last year’s edition saw David Gaudu (Groupama – FDJ) take victory after a two-up sprint with Clément Champoussin (AG2R Citroën Team).  Gaudu did not start this year’s edition to defend his title with all eyes on world champion Julian Alaphilippe.

Starting his season at the Ardèche Classic was Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), who was looking to test his winter training ahead of Paris-Nice next week.

The Ardèche Classic features over 3,000 metres of climbing and three ascents of the Côte de Val d’Enfer with steep sections of 14%.

Roglič, along with many of his race rivals, was treating it as a double weekend of French races with the Drôme Classic the following day.

The 168km course saw riders compete over eight classified climbs with the race starting and finishing in Guilherand-Granges.

A difficult final 29km included the Mur de Cornas, Saint Romain de Lerps and finally the Côte de Val d’Enfer, which is just 1.5km in length but with an average of 10% and it cam just 7km from the finish.

Attacks started as soon as the flag dropped on the Côte du Pin with riders keen to make the day’s breakaway, while QuickStep-AlphaVinyl and Jumbo-Visma monitored who escaped the bunch.

A three-man breakaway eventually formed consisting of Bruno Armirail (Groupama – FDJ), Jérémy Cabot (TotalEnergies) and Mathias Le Turnier (Team U Nantes Atlantique) with the trio quickly building a lead of over four minutes.

On the second climb of the day, Col de la Justice, the bunch split with Groupama – FDJ and

Lotto Soudal being caught out and having to expend energy chasing 13 kilometres before regrouping.

After the opening exchanges the race settled down with the peloton sitting 2:27 back with 55 kilometres of racing remaining.

Coming onto the long descent to the foot of Côte de Val d'Enfer, it was Le Turnier who was dropped from the breakaway.

On the penultimate time up the Côte de Val d'Enfer, nicknamed ‘the valley of hell’, the favourites started to begin pushing the pace with Bora-Hansgrohe and Jumbo-Visma gathering on the front as the gap came down to two minutes with 35km remaining.

The breakaway split on the Mur du Cornas with Armirail going clear alone breaking his partner with 28km left.

Behind, Jumbo-Visma set up an attack for Roglič which was countered by Alaphilippe taking a group of eight riders at the head of proceedings.

On the descent, Alaphilippe continued his assault but was again followed by Roglič and Brandon McNulty), as the leading group reduced to around 10 riders.

Jumbo-Visma had another card to play as Sepp Kuss was the next to launch an attack with 26 kilometres left of the race. Kuss was joined at the front by McNulty, Mauri Vansevenant (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) and Clément Champoussin (AG2R Citroën Team).

The newly formed breakaway caught Amirail at the head of proceedings and had a gap of 30 seconds on the group of favourites.

McNulty launched his bid for victory and as the breakaway allowed him a small gap that then grew to 10 seconds with 23 kilometres remaining. Three kilometres later, on the descent of Saint-Romain-de-Lerps, and with only the final climb remaining, McNulty led by 17 seconds from a chase pairing of Vansevenant and Champoussin, with the bunch now 1:10 behind.

Kuss battled his way back to Vansevenant and Champoussin, with the chasing trio 30 seconds behind lone leader McNulty and the bunch 1:20 back with 10 kilometres remaining.

Hitting the final 1.5 kilometre climb with just 7.5 kilometres remaining, McNulty was riding strongly and alone as he hit the 14% gradients.

In the chasing breakaway,  Champoussin was dropped as Kuss and Vansevenant looked to pull back the 43-second deficit.

Behind the peloton were left with too much to do on the final climb as the breakaway battled for the podium spots.

McNulty soloed to victory, while Vansevenant outsprinted Kuss for second place at 45 seconds and the chasers came in at 1:44.

 

Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brandon Mcnulty (USA) Uae Team Emirates 4:26:36
2Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 0:00:45
3Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
4Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora - Hansgrohe 0:01:33
5Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
6Clément Champoussin (Fra) Ag2R Citroen Team 0:01:36
7Quentin Pacher (Fra) Groupama - Fdj 0:01:44
8Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
9Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Ag2R Citroen Team
10Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Totalenergies
11Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux
12Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal
13Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) Totalenergies
14Juan Ayuso Pesquera (Spa) Uae Team Emirates
15Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux
16Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis
17Stefano Oldani (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
18Sylvain Moniquet (Bel) Lotto Soudal
19Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) Ag2R Citroen Team
20Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
21Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama - Fdj
22Pierre Latour (Fra) Totalenergies
23Sam Oomen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
24Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora - Hansgrohe
25Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
26Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
27Maxim Van Gils (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:57
28Andréa Mifsud (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote D'Azur 0:03:12
29Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 0:03:22
30Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:03:34
31Torstein Træen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 0:03:53
32Victor Koretzky (Fra) B&B Hotels - Ktm
33Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
34Romain Gregoire (Fra) Groupama - Fdj
35Diego Ulissi (Ita) Uae Team Emirates
36Jan Polanc (Slo) Uae Team Emirates
37Mikael Cherel (Fra) Ag2R Citroen Team 0:04:12
38Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek - Segafredo
39Fabien Doubey (Fra) Totalenergies 0:04:16
40Jacob Eriksson (Swe) Riwal Cycling Team
41Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
42Kenny Molly (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces Wb
43Nans Peters (Fra) Ag2R Citroen Team
44Andres Camilo Ardila Ordoñez (Col) Uae Team Emirates 0:04:19
45Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
46Thibault Ferasse (Fra) B&B Hotels - Ktm 0:04:51
47Tom Mainguenaud (Fra) Go Sport - Roubaix Lille Metropole 0:05:45
48Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama - Fdj 0:06:02
49Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux 0:06:58
50Reuben Thompson (NZl) Groupama - Fdj
51Harold Alfonso Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana Qazaqstan Team
52Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
53Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
54Hugo Page (Fra) Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux
55Juan Pedro Lopez Perez (Spa) Trek - Segafredo
56Winner Andrew Anacona (Col) Team Arkea - Samsic 0:08:50
57Jeremy Cabot (Fra) Totalenergies
58Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora - Hansgrohe
59Maxime Jarnet (Fra) Go Sport - Roubaix Lille Metropole
60Asbjørn Hellemose (Den) Trek - Segafredo 0:10:31
61Lawrence Warbasse (USA) Ag2R Citroen Team 0:10:44
62Théo Delacroix (Fra) Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux
63Niklas Eg (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 0:11:08
64Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek - Segafredo
65Floris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:12:47
66Torjus Sleen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 0:13:10
67Gil Gelders (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces Wb Development Team
68Sebastian Schönberger (Aut) B&B Hotels - Ktm
69Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis
70Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis
71Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Team U Nantes Atlantique
72Maël Guegan (Fra)
73Yoann Paillot (Fra) St Michel - Auber 93
74Anthony Maldonado (Fra) St Michel - Auber 93
75Antoine Berlin (Mon) Nice Metropole Cote D'Azur
76Cyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels - Ktm
77Dorian Godon (Fra) Ag2R Citroen Team
78Laurent Pichon (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
79Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora - Hansgrohe
80Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek - Segafredo
81Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama - Fdj
82Julien Simon (Fra) Totalenergies
83Jordan Jegat (Fra) Team U Nantes Atlantique
84Nicolas Edet (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
85Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team
86Miguel Heidemann (Ger) B&B Hotels - Ktm
87Ben Zwiehoff (Ger) Bora - Hansgrohe
88Valentin Ferron (Fra) Totalenergies
89Anthon Charmig (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
90Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama - Fdj
91Luc Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces Wb
92Alexandre Delettre (Fra) Cofidis
93Maxime Urruty (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote D'Azur
94Simone Petilli (Ita) Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux
95Laurens Huys (Bel) Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux
96Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Cofidis
97Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis
98Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels - Ktm
99Jean Goubert (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote D'Azur
100Kévin Besson (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote D'Azur
101Gijs Leemreize (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
102Elmar Reinders (Ned) Riwal Cycling Team
103Lucas Eriksson (Swe) Riwal Cycling Team
104Mathias Bregnhøj (Den) Riwal Cycling Team 0:15:29
105Martijn Budding (Ned) Riwal Cycling Team
106Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels - Ktm
107Louis Barre (Fra) Team U Nantes Atlantique
108Axel Mariault (Fra) Team U Nantes Atlantique
109Clément Carisey (Fra) Go Sport - Roubaix Lille Metropole
110Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team 0:16:12
111Kamil Malecki (Pol) Lotto Soudal
112Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Astana Qazaqstan Team 0:16:18
113Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Team U Nantes Atlantique 0:16:51
114Martin Bugge Urianstad (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 0:17:57
DNFPieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
DNFFinn Fisher-Black (NZl) Uae Team Emirates
DNFJoel Suter (Swi) Uae Team Emirates
DNFAyco Bastiaens (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix Development Team
DNFEdward Anderson (USA) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFJakub Mareczko (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFJimmy Janssens (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFMatteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora - Hansgrohe
DNFAnton Palzer (Ger) Bora - Hansgrohe
DNFAntwan Tolhoek (Ned) Trek - Segafredo
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFAleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFNurbergen Nurlykhassym (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team
DNFAlessandro Verre (Ita) Team Arkea - Samsic
DNFSteff Cras (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFThomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFJacob Madsen (Den) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFAnders Halland Johannessen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
DNFJohan Meens (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces Wb
DNFRemy Mertz (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces Wb
DNFDimitri Peyskens (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces Wb
DNFMarco Tizza (Ita) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces Wb
DNFChristoffer Lisson (Den) Riwal Cycling Team
DNFFlavien Maurelet (Fra) St Michel - Auber 93
DNFTony Hurel (Fra) St Michel - Auber 93
DNFMorné Van Niekerk (RSA) St Michel - Auber 93
DNFThomas Denis (Fra) Go Sport - Roubaix Lille Metropole
DNFJérémy Leveau (Fra) Go Sport - Roubaix Lille Metropole
DNFEvaldas Šiškevičius (Ltu) Go Sport - Roubaix Lille Metropole
DNFLeo Danes (Fra) Team U Nantes Atlantique
DNFEdouard Bonnefoix (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote D'Azur
DNFPaul Hennequin (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote D'Azur

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