Two wins in the Dolomites and the Alps
Mark Padun delivered a fine display of his class in the Queen’s stage of the Adriatica Ionica Race: The young Ukrainian from the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM beat his last companions in a sprint to the line at the foot of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. One day later Vincenzo Nibali saved his Tour de France by soloing to the victory in the shortened mountain stage from Albertville to Val Thorens.
The BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM had reasons to celebrate from the start of the Adriatica Ionica Race as Phil Bauhaus won the City Race held on a circuit in Mestre. The second stage of the race was mostly flat but featured a total of 30 kilometers on gravel roads. In the end just a bit more than 20 riders headed for the finish line. Heinrich Haussler could not outwit Deceuninck Quick Steps’ power in numbers, but he crossed the finish line in 5th and scored another good result for the team. The Queen’s stage of this new, five day stage race in the Northeast of Italy was more than 200 kilometers long, with its route leading into the heart of the Dolomites and the finish at the foot of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
At first the riders of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM had to overcome a scare however. With a combined effort they piloted Mark Padun as its co-captain for the overall standings back to the peloton after a mechanical. On the final climb to Lago di Misurina Mark Padun was unfazed by the scare earlier on. While he could not drop all rivals with his acceleration, only four were able to match his pace. And he kept all of them in check In the finale, thus scoring the second win of his season after having won the national time trial championships in Ukraine earlier in the month. With his win at the foot of the Tre Cime Padun also took over the leader’s jersey of the stage race.
Vincenzo Nibali had already shown a strong performance at the Tour de France on Friday, continuing a series of strong rides from riders of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM. In the two tricky previous stages Dylan Teuns and Damiano Caruso had finished in 5th each, and with Caruso it was no less than the Queen’s stage of this year’s Tour de France. Vincenzo Nibali made it into the lead group early on but got caught by the group of overall contenders on the slopes of the Col d’Iseran as the highest point to climb in this year’s Tour de France. At that moment nobody could sense that a strong hail storm would force the race organizers to stop the stage prematurely and treat the passage on top of the Iseran as the stage result. At the moment the stage was stopped Nibali was riding in a small group with a fine selection of cycling’s star riders.
The penultimate stage had to be shortened as well due to the weather conditions, and not by a bit: Only 59.5 kilometers remained to be ridden between Albertville and Val Thorens. While the initial 25 kilometers were almost flat, the remaining 34 kilometers were all uphill. Soon after the start Dylan Teuns joined a first group of attackers, and soon after Vincenzo Nibali managed to bridge the gap to this group with some other riders. From there the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM played its cards ideally: With 24 kilometers to go Dylan Teuns attacked but could not break away from the group. But when Nibali attacked with 13 kilometers to go nobody could keep up with him. Cycling fans got to see a thrilling pursuit on the final kilometers, with the «Shark from Messina» keeping his chasers at check. Thus Vincenzo Nibali got to celebrate a solo victory in Val Thorens.
TOUR DE FRANCE, STAGE 20: ALBERTVILLE - VAL THORENS, 59.5KM
1. Vincenzo Nibali, ITA/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, in 1:51.53 hours
2. Alejandro Valverde, ESP, + 0.10
3. Mikel Landa, ESP, + 0.14
ADRIATICA IONICA RACE, STAGE 3: PALMANOVA - LAGO DI MISURINA / TRE CIME DI LAVAREDO, 204.6KM
1. Mark Padun, UKR/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, in 5:54.16 hours
2. Dayer Quintana, COL, st
3. Ben Hermans, BEL, st