Uijtdebroeks on top
26 August 2022

He was announced for a while as the new phenomenon of Belgian cycling. It is true that in Belgium, we are used to find a new Eddy Merckx or the next Remco Evenepoel… Nevertheless, Cian Uijtdebroeks has fully justified the great hopes he raises by rising (very) high on the final climb of Saint-François-Longchamp, at the side of the col de la Madeleine approached by the terrible small road of Montgellafrey explored by the Tour de France 2020.

The young Belgian rider, only nineteen years old, isolated himself with 11 kilometres to go and offered a solo performance that says a lot about his talent already glimpsed last year on the Classique des Alpes juniors, the category to which he still belonged before joining the World Tour level without any further delay since the Bora-Hansgrohe team had secured a contract with him at the end of 2020 that runs until 2025! Nevertheless, he was penalized by twenty seconds for an illegal feed, which doesn’t take anything away from his demonstration, but prevents him from taking the yellow jersey still worn by the German Michel Hessmann, 3rd of the stage, and who is now known to defend himself very well in the mountains.

The first of the three days in the Alps was a disappointment for the French team, where only Alex Baudin managed to stay in the lead (11th of the stage at 2’25”, 10th overall), whereas Romain Grégoire, the winner of Oyonnax, found a less favourable ground (15th at 4’20”). As for Lenny Martinez, he wasn’t able to express his climbing skills, far from it (17th of the stage at 4’30”) and almost out of the picture in the overall classification (13th) where he is more than five minutes behind. It is true that a crash at the beginning of the stage probably handicapped him, but Lenny Martinez admitted that he felt tired during this 175 kilometre long stage where he “didn’t have the legs” at the foot of the final climb.

The second part of the Savoyard triptych is much shorter (100,2 km) between Ugine and La Toussuire but also denser with the ascent of the col de la Madeleine (24,7 km) this time in its entirety and by one of its traditional sides on the Tour de France.

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