Tour de France: Runner up finish will give Scarponi a boost in morale
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tour de France: Runner up finish will give Scarponi a boost in morale

by Kyle Moore at 4:04 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Lampre-ISD leader finds the break and comes home second

Michele ScarponiStage ten of the Tour de France saw the first big battle in the high mountains, and while all the remaining top favourites completed the stage in the same time, a select breakaway made it stick until the end. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) outlasted four others who were clearly on their limits, including Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), who was second.

For Scarponi, the runner up finish will give him more confidence for the remainder of the mountain stages, when the Italian is likely to do further stage hunting in similar breakaways.

The Lampre-ISD rider went in to stage ten in 27th place overall, more than ten minutes down on race leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling). He was the best placed rider in the escape of 25 men, and as expected, was one of the best climbers to get away as the intensity picked up on the hors catégorie Col du Grand Colombier.

While it appeared his energy levels were flagging at times in a four-man group also including Voeckler, Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank), and Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Scarponi hung in to fight out the finish. It was the remaining four men plus Jen Voigt (Radioshack-Nissan), who had come back on the descent off the final climb, the Col de Richemond, who contested the victory. With everyone running out of steam, Voeckler was the strongest on the false flat finish.

After springing the selection on the Grand Colombier, Scarponi was pleased to have gained back some time and put himself in contention for a stage win.

“It was my aim to try to do something good in these stages in the Alps,” Scarponi admitted. “Maybe I would have chosen tomorrow’s stage [148km with four categorized climbs and a summit finish on La Toussuire – ed.], but this morning a breakaway began and, thanks to the support by [Danilo] Hondo, I could join it.

“I had good feelings so I tried to get the victory. I managed my energy and then I raised the pace on the Col du Grand Colombier in order to make the selection in the attacking group.”

After a descent into Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, it was a slightly uphill drag to the finish that seemed to go on forever. The two particularly fast men in the group, Sanchez and Devenyns, were the wheels being watched. Having made a habit of winning on difficult finishes out of select breakaways (and with two of his three career Tour de France victories coming on July 11), Sanchez seemed to be the marked man. Scarponi gauged his efforts off of the Spaniard, but even the Rabobank rider had tired. After Voeckler had gone, it was too late for Scarponi to catch up.

“In the final kilometre, I chose to wait for Sanchez to move, as I really thought he would have reacted to Voeckler’s attack,” Scarponi explained. “Unluckily for me, the Spaniard waited too long and so I had to try for the difficult recovery.

“It’s a pity, but this stage will give me the morale to try to attack again.”


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