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