Podium results in Spain and France
On August 1st the riders of Team Bahrain-McLaren were competing in three countries. Mikel Landa finished the conclusive stage of the Vuelta a Burgos with the mountaintop finish at Lagunas de Neila in 2nd place and moved up into 2nd in the overall standings as well. Meanwhile Sonny Colbrelli sprinted to a 3rd place in Southern France at the end of the opening stage of the Route d’Occitanie.
At the first proper mountaintop finish of the Vuelta a Burgos on Picon Blanco Mikel Landa as Team Bahrain-McLaren’s designated captain finished in 3rd and showed that he was one of the strongest climbers in this race. Before the grand finale of this five-day race held in the Northeast of Spain there was one more stage without overly hard climbs, offering another chance for the sprint specialists. Rather than Mark Cavendish it was Austrian Marco Haller who contested the sprint, but the stage win went to Ireland’s Sam Bennett who surprised everyone with a late attack with 900 meters to go. Haller crossed the finish line in 13th. As for the demanding conclusive stage of the Vuelta a Burgos, Team Bahrain-McLaren had quite some ambitions: It wanted to help Mikel Landa win the stage and allow him to move up in the overall standings.
Once the final stage was on the six early attackers were caught with 14 kilometers to go, and the riders in red, papaya, blue and black had done a fair share to make this happen. As soon as the final ascent started, first Eros Capecchi and then Damiano Caruso kept upping the pace, shrinking the group of favourites significantly. With four kilometers to go, Mikel Landa placed a first acceleration followed up by another attack half a kilometer later. But Esteban Chaves managed to get back to Landa’s wheel, dragging Ivan Sosa and overall leader Remco Evenepoel with him. While Chaves faded, Landa could not get rid of the other two rivals. With 660 meters to go, Sosa attacked from third position and surprised Mikel Landa. The Basque rider crossed the finish line in 2nd and moved up to 2nd in the overall standings as well, scoring podium results early on after the restart of the season.
Another selection of Team Bahrain-McLaren is competing at the four-stage Route d’Occitanie in France’s Southwest these days. For the flatter stages, Sonny Colbrelli and Enrico Battaglin are the team’s protected riders while Rafael Valls and Hermann Pernsteiner are expected to shine in the mountains. Riding in support of these four athletes are Santiago Buitrago, Scott Davies and Kevin Inkelaar. While the profile of the first half of the initial stage was very hilly, the second part and the local loops around Béziers were decidedly flatter. The riders of Team Bahrain-McLaren took a fair share of the work to get the peloton back to the early attackers. In the sprint for the stage win, Sonny Colbrelli was beaten by Bryan Coquard and Elia Viviani, crossing the finish line in 3rd and scoring another podium result for the team.
As for the Classics and single-day race specialists, all eyes were on the Strade Bianche semi-classic raced on August 1st in the Tuscany region. With an overall distance of 184 kilometers and more than 60 kilometers of unpaved, dusty gravel roads, this race is a formidable challenge for all starters. Team Bahrain-McLaren decided to ride for Dylan Teuns and Ivan Garcia Cortina. These two could rely on the help of the likes of Grega Bole, Matej Mohoric, Domen Novak, Jan Tratnik and Fred Wright. But when Jakob Fuglsang launched a strong attack with 50 kilometers to go and provoked the decisive selection, no rider in red, papaya, blue and black was in reach to react. Only five riders that were part of the group of pre-race favourites managed to get back to Fuglsang, and Wout Van Aert sailed to solo win after an attack with 12.3 kilometers to go. As the lone finisher of Team Bahrain-McLaren, Matej Mohoric crossed the finish line in Siena in 19th place.
42ND VUELTA A BURGOS
STAGE 5: COVARRUBIAS - LAGUNAS DE NEILA, 158KM
1. Ivan Sosa, COL, in 3:47.56 hours
2. Mikel Landa, ESP/Team Bahrain-McLaren, + 0.09
3. Remco Evenepoel, BEL, + 0.11
FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS:
1. Remco Evenepoel, BEL, in 19:14.12 Stunden
2. Mikel Landa, ESP/Team Bahrain-McLaren, + 0.30
3. Joao Almeida, POR, + 1.12
44TH ROUTE D’OCCITANIE
STAGE 1: SAINT-AFFRIQUE - CAZOULS-LES-BÉZIERS, 187KM
1. Bryan Coquard, FRA, in 4:35.00 hours
2. Elia Viviani, ITA, st
3. Sonny Colbrelli, ITA/Team Bahrain-McLaren, st