Miguel Angel Lopez wins Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge

Miguel Angel López (Movistar) claimed a commanding victory at the 2021 Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, attacking some 12.5km from the summit of the Giant of Provence to win alone by nearly two-and-a-half minutes.

Oscar Rodríguez (Astana-Premier Tech) held off Enric Mas at the top of the mountain to prevent a Movistar one-two, but the Spanish team still secured two of the podium spots.

A frustrated Ben O’Connor crossed the line in fourth place, 3:30 down on López. His AG2R Citroën Team had dominated the lower slopes of the second of two ascents of Mont Ventoux but he couldn’t respond to López’s attack and found himself a marked man in the select chase group behind.

The Australian managed to hold off Cristian Rodríguez (Total Direct Energie) as they sprinted for the line, with Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), the other member of that chase group, trailing home in sixth at 4:02.

The third edition of the one-day race featured a double ascent of Provence’s ‘bald’ mountain, first from Sault then the more commonly used route from Bedoin, both reaching Chalet Reynard before emerging onto the exposed mountainside for the final 5km.

AG2R laid the foundations on the final climb (21km at 8.7 per cent), with Clément Champoussin and Geoffrey Bouchard thinning the bunch dramatically. However, before O’Connor could make his move, Elissonde kicked off the true hostilities, and was quickly countered by López.

There were still 12.5km to the summit but the Colombian swiftly opened a gap and looked a picture of poise as he comfortably rode further away from the competition all the way up the mountain.

It soon became clear the rest were realistically racing for second place, and O’Connor became increasingly desperate as he repeatedly tried to raise the pace, only find company on his wheel – notably Cristian Rodríguez – every time.

Mas looked comfortable and took advantage of that dynamic, attacking 6km from the summit and quickly catching Oscar Rodríguez, who’d attacked a kilometre down the road. A Movistar one-two looked likely as Mas trailed his compatriot all the way to the top, but Rodríguez managed to summon a vicious kick on the double-digit haul to the finish line.

López, though, had long finished, basking in a victory that will underline his credentials for the Tour de France.

“The boys did a stupendous job and this is the way to thank them for their work,” said the Colombian.

“That was a long one for me, but we did the first climb at a strong tempo and the second one started rapidly, so that allowed me to attack from range.”

How it unfolded

It was a fast start as the 154km route started out with the shallow climb of the Col de la Madeleine (not its fearsome Alpine namesake) and then passed through Bedoin to take on the Col de la Gabelle (10km at 4.2 per cent).

A breakaway formed on the lower slopes of that second climb, containing: Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels), Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo), Antoine Duschesne (Groupama-FDJ), Romain Hardy (Arkéa-Samsic), Delio Fernández (Delko), Flavien Maurelet (St Michel-Auber93), and Roger Adrià (Kern Pharma)

Movistar controlled the peloton to keep the gap under four minutes as they took on the shallow Rocher du Cyre (18km at 2.4 per cent) before reaching Sault for the first ascent of Mont Ventoux with 80km to go.

Pacher launched an attack at Chalet Reynard, with Adrià the only one able to follow. The pair reached the summit, where Pacher was first over the top, having extended their lead over the bunch to 4:25.

Movistar, EF Education-Nippo, and Trek-Segafredo were prominent in the peloton on the upper slopes, and on the descent to Malaucène, where AG2R then started to take it up on the approach back to Bedoin.

While the rest of the break were out of the way, Pacher and Adrià started the climb with a lead of two minutes but wouldn’t last long. First through Champoussin, then through Giro d’Italia king of the mountains Bouchard, AG2R shredded the bunch on the tree-lined opening section of the climb.

12.7km from the top, Elissonde disrupted the train and launched a speculative attack. It didn’t last long, but when López launched a counter just after, it proved to be the decisive, race-winning move. O’Connor attempted to get on terms, but was unable to do so, and that was that.

As López breezed past Pacher, who’d attacked Adrià, O’Connor chased with Elissonde, before Mas accelerated to bridge across with the two Rodríguez’s. Those five riders settled into a chasing group, marked by O’Connor’s repeated digs as the gap to López quickly extended beyond a minute with 10km to go.

However, he was marked every time by Cristian Rodríguez, who appeared reluctant to pull on the front. Oscar Rodríguez did, however, succeed in opening a gap with his first attack 7.2km from the top.

Mas was never going to doing any turns behind, and it was perhaps inevitable, with 6.2km to go and with López 1:40 up the road, that he would launch a counter-attack at some point to go after second place. He quickly linked up with Oscar Roríguez and settled into his wheel for the upper slopes, while Elissonde started to struggle as O’Connor tried everything to shake Cristian Rodriguez.

By the top, López victorty was a formality, while Oscar Rodíguez defied the odds to outkick Mas for second place, leaving O’Connor to voice his frustration with the other Rodríguez, having saved his pride in pipping him for fourth.

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Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team 4:30:04
2Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:02:26
3Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:33
4Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team 0:03:30
5Cristian Rodriguez Martin (Spa) Total Direct Energie
6Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 0:04:02
7Michel Ries (Lux) Trek-Segafredo 0:04:45
8Simon Carr (GBr) EF Education-Nippo 0:05:41
9Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team 0:05:48
10Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:06:10
11Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:06:17
12Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 0:06:32
13Clément Berthet (Fra) Delko 0:06:50
14Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Astana-Premier Tech 0:07:38
15Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:07:53
16Ander Okamika Bengoetxea (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:08:58
17Miguel Ángel Ballesteros (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa 0:09:04
18Jhojan Garcia Susa (Col) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:09:11
19Jeremy Cabot (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:09:27
20Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:09:31
21Ollie Jones (NZl) Global 6 Cycling 0:10:23
22Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:10:37
23Julen Amezqueta Moreno (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:10:45
24Jokin Murguialday (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:11:06
25Lars van den Berg (Ned) Groupama-FDJ 0:11:19
26Jose Felix Parra Cuerda (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:12:04
27Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:12:09
28Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 0:12:20
29Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Delko 0:12:56
30Sebastian Schönberger (Aut) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:14:03
31Lucas De Rossi (Fra) Delko 0:14:04
32Julien El Fares (Fra) EF Education-Nippo
33Jaakko Hänninen (Fin) AG2R Citroën Team 0:14:06
34Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis 0:14:31
35Thomas Armstrong (GBr) Electro Hiper Europa 0:14:54
36Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:15:11
37Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:15:22
38Antoine Berlin (Mon) Global 6 Cycling 0:15:52
39Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:16:09
40Eddy Fine (Fra) Cofidis 0:16:23
41Diego Lopez Fuentes (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:17:49
42Victor Langellotti (Mon) Burgos-BH 0:18:24
43Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R Citroën Team 0:19:12
44Carlos Garcia Pierna (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:19:18
45Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:19:32
46Dayer Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:19:37
47Jose Manuel Diaz Gallego (Spa) Delko
48Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team
49Logan Owen (USA) EF Education-Nippo
50Marti Marquez Roman (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
51Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis 0:19:53
52Alvaro Cuadros Morata (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:20:23
53Jon Agirre Egaña (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:22:00
54Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:22:53
55Lachlan Morton (Aus) EF Education-Nippo
56Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo
57William Barta (USA) EF Education-Nippo
58Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:22:58
59Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Delko 0:24:10
60Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
61Carmelo Urbano Fontiveros (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
62Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:24:23
63Romain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:24:31
64Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:24:38
65Victor Martinez (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa 0:25:14
66Campbell Pithie (NZl) Global 6 Cycling 0:25:20
67Alex Molenaar (Ned) Burgos-BH 0:25:22
68Oscar Cabedo Carda (Spa) Burgos-BH
69Morné Van Niekerk (RSA) St Michel-Auber 93
70Hideto Nakane (Jpn) EF Education-Nippo
71Txomin Juaristi Arrieta (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:25:31
72James Mitri (NZl) Global 6 Cycling 0:25:53
73Byron Munton (RSA) Electro Hiper Europa 0:26:00
74Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:27:01
75Enzo Paleni (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:28:32
76Bailey O'Donnell (NZl) Global 6 Cycling
77Thomas Champion (Fra) Cofidis 0:28:45
78Roger Adria Oliveras (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:29:22
79Joan Bou Company (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
80Nicolas Prodhomme (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:30:22
81Marlon Gaillard (Fra) Total Direct Energie
82Eusebio Pascual (Spa) Bahrain Cycling Academy
83Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Delko 0:30:46
84Clément Carisey (Fra) Delko 0:31:46
85Adrien Guillonnet (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 0:31:57
86Oscar Pelegri Ferrandis (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa 0:32:02
DNFFabien Grellier (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFMekseb Debesay (Eri) Bike Aid
DNFLorenzo Germani (Ita) Groupama-FDJ
DNFAngel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Burgos-BH
DNFJavier Gil Torregrosa (Spa) Bahrain Cycling Academy
DNFLilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
DNFHector Saez Benito (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNFDan Erik Hansen (Nor) Global 6 Cycling
DNFAlan Boileau (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFAdne van Engelen (Ned) Bike Aid
DNFWinner Anacona (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFMarco König (Ger) Bike Aid
DNFRaúl Rico Bordera (Spa) Bahrain Cycling Academy
DNFJuri Hollmann (Ger) Movistar Team
DNFUnai Cuadrado Ruiz De Gauna (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFNícolas Sessler (Bra) Global 6 Cycling
DNFGleb Brussenskiy (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFMaxime Cam (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFFlavien Maurelet (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
DNFKevin Ledanois (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFMatthias Schnapka (Ger) Bike Aid
DNFMansoor Jawad (Brn) Bahrain Cycling Academy
DNFLluís Mas (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFIker Ballarin Manso (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFGerard Armillas Pubill (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa
DNFYuriy Natarov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFEliot Lietaer (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFYoann Paillot (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
DNFRomain Hardy (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFLucas Carstensen (Ger) Bike Aid
DNFMathias Norsgaard (Den) Movistar Team
DNFIbon Ruiz Sedano (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
DNFMarcos Jurado Rodriguez (Spa) Electro Hiper Europa
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFPierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFBaptiste Bleier (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
DNFValentin Ferron (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFJasper Pahlke (Ger) Bike Aid
DNFAntoine Duchesne (Can) Groupama-FDJ
DNFJesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH
DNFJonas Hjorth (Nor) Bahrain Cycling Academy
DNFEmmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis
DNFOrluis Alberto Aular Sanabria (Ven) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNFLouis Louvet (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
DNSMathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) Total Direct Energie

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