Aussie Focus

Bagioli wins as Clarke goes down swinging in Drome Classic

Andrea Bagioli took out the win at the Royal Bernard Drome Classic on Monday morning AEDT, jumping clear of the peloton on the final climb and holding his advantage over the chasing peloton, winning by 11 seconds.

9th Royal Bernard Drome Classic 2021

Simon Clarke's attack is closely followed by eventual winner Andrea Bagioli. Source: Getty

Bagioli attacked on the last climb of the race, immediately forcing a gap, which he extended on the downhill and then carried all the way to a solo win across the finish line in Eurre.

“This morning I felt a bit tired after yesterday’s race and didn’t quite have a good feeling. But when the attacks started coming in the last 30 kilometers I realised the legs were good. There were six of us in the main group and we applied constant pressure. It’s important to have such a strong team around you, because when one of the guys attacks, the others can just wait and see what happens while saving their energy.”

“On the last climb, a short one, I was in the top five riders in the peloton. Then I made my move close to the top and once I got clear, I went full gas all the way to the finish without looking back. To win so early in the season is always beautiful, it’s a confirmation of my good condition and makes me look with optimism to the next races. The confidence is high and I hope to continue taking advantage of this”, a happy Andrea added after becoming the first Italian rider to win the Drôme Classic.

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Deceuninck-Quickstep were one of the most active teams in the final section of the 179.2km hilly race, going on the attack several times with the likes of Dries Devenyns, James Knox and Rémi Cavagna, the Frenchman trying his chance on the penultimate descent, when his canny move initially caught the bunch off-guard and forced them to chase hard in order to reel in the time-trial and classics specialist.

On Mur d’Eurre, the final climb of the day, Bagioli followed an attack from Simon Clarke, before launching his own. The Italian jumped with a perfectly executed acceleration, enough to get clear of the peloton by a handy margin at the top of the Mur.

With only three kilometers to go and teammate Mikkel Honoré covering moves in the group behind, Andrea soloed to the win – Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s sixth since the start of the season. The chasers were led home by Daryl Impey (Israel Start-Up Nation) eleven seconds later, with Bagioli's teammate Mikkel Honore in third.

Defending champion Simon Clarke (ASSOS-Qhubeka) was the top-performing Australian, finishing fifth in the race.

Fun day out racing at Drome Classic," said Clarke on Instagram after the race. "Did my best to defend the #1. The team was super strong and didn't miss a beat!" 




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3 min read
Published 1 March 2021 at 11:16am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS