Race report

Leo Hayter impresses with 8th in mountain-top finish, Nils Sinschek moves up to 3rd on GC

Ronde de l'Isard

With a split day of racing at the Ronde de l’Isard today, the peloton were faced with a tricky test in the mountains this morning. A 79 kilometre long route took them over the tough Port de Balès, through Bagnères-de-Luchon before the summit finish at Hopsice-de-France.

As it was short stage, the action was on from the gun with an infernal pace set at the head of the bunch. Some small breakaways managed to form but they were soon quickly brought back as the peloton charged onto the lower slopes of the Port de Balès. On the climb, Nils Sinschek who was buoyed by his strong ride yesterday, broke clear in a group of four. The quartet worked well on the lower slopes before approaching the summit where eventual stage winner Vandenabeele attacked. Sinschek dug deep and rode at his tempo, cresting the climb in second place, around 40 seconds behind the leader with the peloton a further 50 seconds behind him.

On the lower slopes of the final climb Sinschek was reeled in by the peloton of around 20 riders, where he was joined by Leo Hayter and Leon Heinschke. As the final climb began to take its toll riders slowly began to drop from the group, with Heinschke and Sinschek losing contact with around four kilometres to go – both riding their own tempo together all the way to the line. Ahead, Hayter produced an impressive climbing display to take home eighth place on the stage.

With the big gaps on the line throughout the field, Sinschek moves up to third on GC with Heinschke sixth and Hayter thirteenth ahead of this afternoon’s team time trial.

“The plan today was to stick by Nils and we did that,” explained Hayter at the finish. “He got in the winning move on the first climb but didn’t have the legs in the end and he joined a select group including me and Leon at the bottom of the final climb. The Bourg en Bresse team then set a hard pace, and Nils told me just to keep going with the group while him and Leon rode up at a steady pace. I was there in the right place until around 150 metres to go when it got really steep, and I just couldn’t follow the attacks and ended up fighting to the finish. This is the first time I’ve ever been competitive in a mountain-top finish so I’m really happy. We rode well as a team today and we are in a good place coming into this afternoon’s TTT.”

Team Sunweb coach Bennie Lambregts added: “Leo did a really good job to come home in eighth place on the stage, it was very impressive from him. Nils also did another great performance for us today. He made the the break of the day, which ended up being the winning move. Nils managed to go over the top of the climb in second place, around one minute behind Vandenabeele who ended up winning the stage. On the fast descent Nils pushed on but he was caught by the first group of around 20 riders, with Leo and Leon, at the start of the final climb. The three guys rode really well in there as other riders dropped. Coming towards the top of the climb some more guys attacked and Leo did well to follow them and finish the stage in eighth place. Leon and Nils followed him in not long after, which sees Nils move up to third place on GC. Overall, it was a great performance again from the guys and we’re looking forward to this afternoon’s TTT where we’re hoping for a top result.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 VANDENABEELE Henri Lotto - Soudal U23 2:20:37 5
2 CHAMPION Thomas Bourg-en-Bresse Ain Cyclisme 0:42 1
3 VAN GILS Maxim Lotto - Soudal U23 0:46 -