Tour de France: Moser shines in unplanned breakaway
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tour de France: Moser shines in unplanned breakaway

by Kyle Moore at 3:42 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Tour debutant nabs queen stage third place

Moreno MoserWith a team built solely to support green jersey holder Peter Sagan, the queen stage of the 100th Tour de France, featuring two ascents of the legendary Alpe d’Huez, did not seem like a big target for Cannondale Pro Cycling.

And after an inconspicuous first two weeks, and competing in his first Tour de France, Moreno Moser did not seem like the kind of rider who would target the mammoth climbing stage for his Cannondale squad. But after taking a quality 31st place in the Embrun – Chorges time trial yesterday, Moser joined the escape on stage 18.

Moser got away with eight others off the descent of the first climb of the day, the category-two Col de Manse. The Italian spent the next 150 kilometres in the break, and was one of three riders to take it all the way to the finish line. Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale) was the stage winner from the nine-man escape after catching runner up Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) with two kilometres to race on the final time up Alpe d’Huez. Entering the final climb as a trio, Moser was dropped first at the bottom of the Alpe, but he had a big enough gap on the fighting favourites group behind and took third place.

For a while, the 22-year-old Italian was by himself at the head of the race, on the harrowing descent of the Col de Sarenne. He had been riding with Riblon until the Frenchman locked his brakes with a sharp left-hand bend looming, going through a small stream in a ditch but remounting quickly. Moser remained in full flight, although he was eventually rejoined by the AG2R rider, and van Garderen soon got back on as well after a mechanical problem.

As a developing rider with a capable sprint – Moser has the Tour of Poland and Strade Bianche to his name already – he showed some outstanding climbing legs on L’Alpe d’Huez. And the Cannondale rider did it all in a breakaway he hadn’t previously planned, on what he called his first good day of Le Tour.

“Today was the first day since the start in which I felt really good,” Moser claimed. “In the morning, it didn’t seem like a good day to go in a breakaway because we expected a big fight amongst the GC riders. Then, when the first riders escaped from the peloton, I decided to follow my instinct and try. I’m happy for the result and for my performance.”

While he was climbing better than many others in the day’s breakaway, Moser had disappeared relatively quickly on the first ascent of the Alpe. But he was simply riding within himself, and the Italian came back to van Garderen and Riblon to take maximum points over the top the first time. He hung close, falling back briefly just before the summit of the Col de Sarenne a short time later, then took advantage when both van Garderen and Riblon had their separate issues with the descent.

“When van Garderen accelerated I knew he was stronger then me as a climber so I decided to proceed with my rhythm,” Moser added. “I think I raced with intelligence. Following him and Riblon was too hard for me. The Alpe d’Huez was really an amazing show, something that I’ll keep inside for all my career.

“Tomorrow I’ll race in the grupetto because for sure I’ll pay for today’s efforts, but I have no regrets.”

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