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Tour de la Provence: Elia Viviani wins stage 1

LES SAINTESMARIESDELAMER FRANCE FEBRUARY 11 Elia Viviani of Italy and Team INEOS Grenadiers cduring the 6th Tour De La Provence 2022 Stage 1 a 1593km stage from Istres to Les SaintesMariesdelaMer TDLP22 on February 11 2022 in Les SaintesMariesdelaMer France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Elia Viviani of Ineos Grenadiers wins stage 1 at the Tour de la Provence (Image credit: Getty Images)

Elia Viviani won stage 1 of the Tour de la Provence to Les-Saintes-Maries-de-La-Mer in the Camargue region of the south of France after crosswinds sparked echelons and a major shake-out amongst the overall contenders.     

Twenty-seven riders eventually emerged in a multi-team attack from Ineos Grenadiers, QuickStep-AlphaVinyl and Akrea-Samsic with 80km to race. They used the strong wind to spit out other riders and opened a gap that the peloton was unable to close. 

Maciej Bodnar (TotalEnergies) made a solo attack in the final eight kilometres but Filippo Ganna closed him down and then Luke Rowe set-up Viviani for the tailwind sprint.

Viviani kicked away to victory out of the final corner, with Sep Vanmarke (Israel-Premier Tech) only able to follow him over the line, with Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) taking third after an aggressive ride by the world champion. 

Alaphilippe picked up some bonus seconds during the stage but Ganna kept the race lead after dominating Thursday’s prologue time trial. He leads Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) by four seconds, with Samuele Battistella (Astana) third at 10 seconds. 

Viviani has endured two lean years at Cofidis due to injury, a lack of an experienced lead-out and low morale but he appears back to his best and finished off some superb work by his teammates Richard Carapaz, Filippo Ganna and then Rowe.  

“I’m happy to win again but it’s not so much about the new team. I ended last season with Cofidis really well and that’s important to approach the new season. Of course, I’m really happy to be back at Ineos. It’s really important for a sprinter to win at the start of the season,” Viviani explained. 

“We knew I had good form at Valenciana, I was 2nd, 3rd and 4th, so the big goal in Provence was to win the first race of the season. Now it’s done, so now we keep going.

“It was not an easy, flat stage because of the wind. We moved really well and we have really experienced guys for the Classics like Luke Rowe, so when we saw that there were four up front, including Richie (Carapaz) for the GC, that was good. Then we just kept pushing. We were happy that there weren’t any other sprinters. The guys did an amazing job. Ganna closed down Bodnar when he attacked in the final kilometres and then Luke Rowe did a perfect lead-out for me. I have to thank all the team today."

How it unfolded

With the wind blowing across the south of France before the start, the riders and their directeur sportif knew the 152km stage from Istres to Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer was going to be far more than a day for the sprinters.

After an early flurry of attacks, Tom Mainguenaud (Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole), Viktor Verschaeve (Lotto Soudal), Pierre Rolland (B&B Hôtels-KTM), Tristan Delacroix and Jean Goubert (Nice Métropole Côte d'Azur) forced their way clear of the peloton. They were joined by Stéphane Rossetto (St-Michel-Auber 93) after a chase to create the break of the day.

They went over the early climb and rode to the spectacular Roman city of Arles together but the wind was increasing as they neared the exposed salt marshes of the Camargue.

With 80km to go the rider knew it was the moment to attack. Ineos Grenadiers and QuickStep-AlphaVinyl suddenly occupied the front positions, sparking panic behind them as riders fought for shelter and piece of the road. However, there was only enough room for 30 or so riders, with a crash sparking a split and opening the gap.

TotalEnergies and Arkea-Samsic were there in numbers too protecting the overall hopes of Latour and Nairo Quintana, but Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) and Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) were amongst those who missed the split.

With the likes of Bodnar, Rowe and Ganna driving, the gap soon opened to a minute as Groupama-FDJ tried to save face and chase.

A few riders were spat out from the front group and 27 went clear ready for the showdown on the circuits of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and the salt marshes.

The 27 were: Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar), Julian Alaphilippe, Ilan Van Wilder, Louis Vervaeke (QuickStep-AlpaVinyl), Elia Viviani, Filippo Ganna, Richard Carapaz, Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers), Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Trek-Segafredo), Samuele Battistella (Astana-Qazaqstan), Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën), Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), Maciej Bodnar, Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies), Martijn Tusveld (DSM), Sep Vanmarcke, Tom Van Asbroeck, Mads Würtz Schmidt (Israel Premier Tech), Stéphane Rossetto (St-Michel-Auber 93), Tom Mainguenaud (Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole), Viktor Verschaeve (Lotto Soudal), Pierre Rolland (B&B Hôtels-KTM), Tristan Delacroix and Jean Goubert (Nice Métropole Côte d'Azur).

A notable absentee from this front group was 2021 winner Ivan Sosa (Movistar), while his teammate Gorka Izagirre abandoned after crashing in the chaos. Groupama-FDJ committed to the chase but couldn't stop the gap rising to 1:30 as the wind turned into a tailwind and blew the race along the road at over 50km/h.

The rider reached Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer for the first time with 47km to race, with Alaphilippe winning the intermediate sprint to grab three extra seconds.

Aurelien Paret-Peintre was second in that intermediate sprint, with Louis Vervaeke third across the line, the riders knowing every second might count before Sunday’s mountain finish atop the Montagne de Lure.

Groupama-FDJ finally convinced Cofidis to help them with the chase but it was far too late and the French teams were left to embarrassingly argue about who was at fault.

Upfront the race was about the stage victory and the overall contenders limiting any time losses. Quintana had impressed the echelon and looked strong to the finish.

There were some exposed sections on the circuits but not enough and not in the right direction to split the group. Alaphilippe beat Latour to win the second intermediate sprint as Viviani studied the finish for the next to the line.

Strangely nobody tried to attack until eight kilometres to go when Bodnar made his move. He is a talented, power time trialist and surged away, as Latour let a gap and shouted at him to go for it. Carapaz tried to close him down but was outpowered by the exposed wind and suddenly a sprint seemed unlikely. Even Alaphilippe tried to go across to Bodnar, forcing the intervention of Ganna.

The Italian race leader was perhaps hoping to save himself to set up Viviani in the sprint but he began to do long turns on the front to bring the race back together. He managed to even drop Carapaz and the resort of the attack and he time trialled after Bodnar but eased up and closed the gap anyway before keeping the speed high into the final kilometre. It was an impressive show of power and prowess from the track and time trial champion and will be fascinating to see how he performs at Milan-San Remo and the cobbled Classics.

As the rider entered Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Rowe stepped up to play his part. He jumped on Latour’s late surge to give Viviani a perfect lead out to the final corner. The Italian then tucked low and fast and sprinted away from his rivals to give Ineos Grenadiers their second consecutive stage win.

Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Elia Viviani (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 3:17:58
2Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
3Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
4Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Team DSM
5Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
6Cedric Beullens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Trek-Segafredo
8Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies
9Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team
10Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
11Damien Touze (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
12Maxime Bouet (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
13Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic
14Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
15Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
16Tristan Delacroix (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur
17Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 0:00:03
18Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
19Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Israel Start-Up Nation
20Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Arkea-Samsic 0:00:07
21Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:16
22Viktor Verschaeve (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:30
23Maciej Bodnar (Pol) TotalEnergies 0:00:34
24Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 0:02:28
25Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
26Jean Goubert (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur
27Tom Mainguenaud (Fra) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole
28Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:09:34
29Kamil Malecki (Pol) Lotto Soudal
30Nicolas Debeaumarche (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
31Tony Hurel (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
32Norman Vahtra (Est) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole
33Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
34Paul Ourselin (Fra) TotalEnergies
35Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) TotalEnergies
36Raphael Parisella (Can) B&B Hotels-KTM
37Valentin Tabellion (Fra) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole
38Fabien Doubey (Fra) TotalEnergies
39Florian Stork (Ger) Team DSM
40Miguel Heidemann (Ger) B&B Hotels-KTM
41Sebastian Schönberger (Aut) B&B Hotels-KTM
42Yoann Paillot (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
43Samuel Leroux (Fra) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole
44Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Arkea-Samsic
45José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
46Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole
47Jérémy Leveau (Fra) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole
48Jakob Egholm (Den) Trek-Segafredo
49Fabien Grellier (Fra) TotalEnergies
50Joris Delbove (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
51Andréa Mifsud (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur
52Michele Gazzoli (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
53Jason Tesson (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
54Alexis Gougeard (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
55Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
56Romain Combaud (Fra) Team DSM
57Valentin Ferron (Fra) TotalEnergies
58Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis
59Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Cofidis
60Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ
61Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
62Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation
63Lewis Askey (GBr) Groupama-FDJ
64Dayer Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic
65Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team
66Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Movistar Team
67Mathias Norsgaard (Den) Movistar Team
68Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Trek-Segafredo
69Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
70Dario Cataldo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
71Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo
72Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Lotto Soudal
73Nicolas Prodhomme (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
74Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
75Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra) Cofidis
76Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis
77Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 0:09:40
78Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
79Mark Donovan (GBr) Team DSM
80Artyom Zakharov (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team 0:11:25
81Thomas Champion (Fra) Cofidis
82Leonardo Basso (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
83Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
84Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Israel Start-Up Nation
85Simone Velasco (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
86Gleb Brussenskiy (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team
87Kévin Besson (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur
88Antoine Berlin (Mon) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur
89Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroen Team
90Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
91Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
92Emiel Vermeulen (Bel) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole
93Pierre Barbier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
94Tim Naberman (Ned) Team DSM
95Nicolas Edet (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
96Jonathan Couanon (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur
97Xandres Vervloesem (Bel) Lotto Soudal
98Maxime Urruty (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur
99Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo (Col) Movistar Team
100Axel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis
101Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
102Michael Storer (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
103Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFGorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFPatrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-Up Nation

General classification after stage 1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 3:26:05
2Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 0:00:04
3Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:00:10
4Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team 0:00:12
5Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 0:00:17
6Mattias Skjelmose (Den) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:21
7Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team
8Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
9Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:00:22
10Maxime Bouet (Fra) Arkea-Samsic 0:00:23
11Damien Touze (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team 0:00:26
12Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic 0:00:28
13Elia Viviani (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:32
14Cedric Beullens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
15Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team 0:00:34
16Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Team DSM 0:00:35
17Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:40
18Maciej Bodnar (Pol) TotalEnergies 0:00:48
19Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:51
20Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Arkea-Samsic 0:00:56
21Tristan Delacroix (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur 0:01:11
22Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:01:17
23Viktor Verschaeve (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:20
24Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 0:02:56
25Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM 0:03:19
26Tom Mainguenaud (Fra) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole 0:03:22
27Jean Goubert (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur 0:03:54
28Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Groupama-FDJ 0:09:44
29Mathias Norsgaard (Den) Movistar Team 0:09:50
30Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
31Miguel Heidemann (Ger) B&B Hotels-KTM 0:09:51
32Alexis Gougeard (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM 0:09:53
33Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 0:09:55
34Raphael Parisella (Can) B&B Hotels-KTM
35Valentin Ferron (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:09:56
36Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
37Lewis Askey (GBr) Groupama-FDJ 0:09:57
38Michele Gazzoli (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team
39Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
40Dario Cataldo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
41Yoann Paillot (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
42Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo
43Fabien Doubey (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:09:58
44Florian Stork (Ger) Team DSM 0:09:59
45Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
46Samuel Leroux (Fra) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole
47Paul Ourselin (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:10:00
48Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Trek-Segafredo 0:10:02
49Mark Donovan (GBr) Team DSM 0:10:06
50Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:10:07
51Bryan Coquard (Fra) Cofidis
52Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Movistar Team 0:10:08
53Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole 0:10:10
54Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:10:11
55Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis
56Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:10:12
57Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
58Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Cofidis 0:10:13
59Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra) Cofidis
60Romain Combaud (Fra) Team DSM
61Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:10:14
62Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team
63Fabien Grellier (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:10:15
64Jérémy Leveau (Fra) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole 0:10:17
65José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team 0:10:19
66Tony Hurel (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 0:10:20
67Jakob Egholm (Den) Trek-Segafredo
68Valentin Tabellion (Fra) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole 0:10:22
69Nicolas Prodhomme (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team 0:10:23
70Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Arkea-Samsic 0:10:24
71Norman Vahtra (Est) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole 0:10:25
72Nicolas Debeaumarche (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 0:10:26
73Sebastian Schönberger (Aut) B&B Hotels-KTM 0:10:27
74Joris Delbove (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 0:10:28
75Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Lotto Soudal 0:10:30
76Andréa Mifsud (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur 0:10:31
77Kamil Malecki (Pol) Lotto Soudal 0:10:33
78Jason Tesson (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 0:10:42
79Dayer Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic 0:10:44
80Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:11:34
81Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:11:49
82Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroen Team
83Axel Zingle (Fra) Cofidis 0:11:54
84Gleb Brussenskiy (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team
85Simone Velasco (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team 0:11:56
86Michael Storer (Aus) Groupama-FDJ 0:11:57
87Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team 0:11:59
88Nicolas Edet (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
89Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:12:05
90Artyom Zakharov (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan Team 0:12:06
91Tim Naberman (Ned) Team DSM 0:12:07
92Leonardo Basso (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan Team 0:12:10
93Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
94Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM 0:12:15
95Jonathan Couanon (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur 0:12:17
96Thomas Champion (Fra) Cofidis 0:12:23
97Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo (Col) Movistar Team 0:12:26
98Emiel Vermeulen (Bel) Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Meropole
99Xandres Vervloesem (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:12:28
100Kévin Besson (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur
101Maxime Urruty (Fra) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur 0:12:30
102Pierre Barbier (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
103Antoine Berlin (Mon) Nice Metropole Cote d'Azur 0:12:50

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.

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